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Child born out of rape not a good memory, shall be reminder of trauma and agony to mother: Punjab and Haryana HC

“The pregnancy is an outcome of violation of the minor. It is a testimony to her bruised body and soul. The child, if born, is not a reminder of good memories, but shall be a reminder of trauma and agony she had to undergo," Justice Vinod S Bhardwaj observed.

The court further said that life is not just about being able to breathe, it is about being able to live with dignity. (Express Photo)

Observing that a child born out of rape “shall be a reminder of trauma and agony” the survivor had to to undergo, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has allowed a minor rape victim to terminate her 26-week pregnancy.

A Bench of Justice Vinod S Bhardwaj also directed the director, medical board, at the Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College and Hospital, Mewat, to carry out the medical termination of the pregnancy upon satisfaction of all necessary conditions as prescribed in law.

The court passed the order while hearing a petition was filed by the victim through her father. The petitioner contended that she was subjected to rape as a result of which she got pregnant. An FIR was registered under Sections 363, 366-A, 376, 450, and 34 of the IPC and Sections 4 and 17 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences, Act, 2012 on October 21, 2022 in Nuh.

The counsel for the petitioner contended that the victim is a minor and continuation of the pregnancy will cause great physical and psychological trauma to her. It was further contended that she was not in a situation to take care of the child in case she is allowed to go ahead with pregnancy. Since the pregnancy was more than 24 weeks old, the minor approached the HC.

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After hearing the plea, Justice Bhardwaj noted that the victim is a minor and dependent on her family. She is yet to complete her education and pursue her goals in life.

“The pregnancy is an outcome of violation of the minor. It is a testimony to her bruised body and soul. The child, if born, is not a reminder of good memories, but shall be a reminder of trauma and agony she had to undergo. As an unwanted child, the member is also likely to either live a tormented life filled up with taunts to his origin or only to be given away. In either of the said situation, the mother as well as the child suffer social stigma and incarceration for rest of their lives. The same is not in the best interest of either the mother and her family already having expressed their unwillingness to bring up the child, it may not even be advancing the cause of the unborn, who will grapple to come to terms with life and be subjected to maltreatment for no fault,” Justice Bhardwaj observed.

The court further said that life is not just about being able to breathe. “It is about being able to live with dignity. Where the denial of dignity and social as well as family acceptance or approval is a writing on the wall, it compounds agony of the child and lead to greater injustice. Balance thus needs to be drawn to examine the over all well-being. Whether to shape the trauma of a victim or to prolong it by delivery of the child, who is to be only victimised. The choices thus reduce and it seems more prudent to allow the termination of pregnancy,” the court observed.

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Stating that there is also no reason for the court to presume that the opinion given by the medical board concerned is not in good faith and as to how the continuation of this pregnancy would be in larger interest of the mother, the HC ordered the medical college to take expeditious steps for termination of the pregnancy.

First published on: 30-11-2022 at 08:32 IST
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