The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the PGIMER to admit a minor rape victim, who is 27 weeks pregnant, provide medical and psychiatric support, and if in the opinion of doctors, the victim is found to be fit for surgical intervention, then the needful be done.
The HC has been hearing a petition filed by the victim, through her guardian, seeking directions to PGIMER to medically examine the petitioner (the minor victim) through its Permanent Medical Board and after assessment, terminate her pregnancy, which is about 27 weeks and 6 days old. The plea said that the pregnancy needs to be terminated, provided there is no risk to the minor’s life and mental health.
The Bench of Justice Raj Mohan Singh, after hearing the matter, said, “It is not in dispute that the woman has a right to live with dignity in view of Article 21 of the Constitution. But in order to exercise that right, the victim has to be alive. When there is a contingency as regards her chances of survival on being surgically operated, then this right become very subjective. The opinion rendered by the medical board is somewhat carrying both the possibilities, leaving the parties to face some uncertainties.”
The Bench added that it would be just and appropriate to request the medical superintendent of PGIMER, Chandigarh, to admit the victim forthwith and provide medical and psychiatric support.
“If in the opinion of the team of doctors, the victim is found to be fit enough for surgical intervention, then the needful be done. The ultimate decision of the operating team would prevail for the welfare of the victim as well as of unborn child. If the surgical intervention is successfully done and if the baby is born alive, then both the respondents be act in tandem as per guidelines on the subject. If during procedure of medical termination of pregnancy, the operating team sees any risk to the life of the victim, then they will have the discretion to abondon/cancel the procedure forthwith. The medical team shall maintain complete record of procedure of termination of pregnancy of the victim and shall also take the blood samples of the foetus for conducting the DNA and other tests,” said the HC, while disposing of the petition.