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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Bombay HC refuses to terminate 32-week pregnancy of minor ‘rape’ victim

The court said, "...as the Petitioner’s minor daughter has completed nearly 33 weeks of her pregnancy as of today, we are afraid, it would not be appropriate for us to pass an order... to terminate her pregnancy at this belated stage.”

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
March 15, 2021 11:40:42 pm
The victim, a Mumbai resident, was allegedly raped by an acquaintance when she was alone at her house.

The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to allow the termination of a 32-week pregnancy of a 13-year-old victim of sexual assault after the J J Hospital medical Board informed through its report that the minor could be at risk during the termination and hence, continuing it to term is a better option.

A division bench of Justice A A Sayed and Justice Madhav Jamdar was hearing a petition of the victim’s father, seeking termination of his daughter’s pregnancy. Advocate Ashley Cusher for the petitioner submitted that the victim weighed only 38 kg and was physically incapable of delivering the child. It was also submitted that the victim would be in trauma if the pregnancy was not terminated and therefore, her plea under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, be allowed.

The victim, a Mumbai resident, was allegedly raped by an acquaintance when she was alone at her house.

Government Pleader Purnima H Kantharia submitted the J J Hospital medical board’s report, which examined the victim. The report, based on the opinion of four doctors, was unanimous in its conclusion that it would be better for the victim to continue the pregnancy to term.

After examining the report, the court held that it was inclining towards the experts’ advice and therefore, it cannot permit the pregnancy’s termination. The bench also said it should be informed about the progress of the pregnancy and the victim’s condition after two weeks.

The court said: “In view of the opinion of the Medical Board, which is a Committee of Doctors who are experts in their field and as the Petitioner’s minor daughter has completed nearly 33 weeks of her pregnancy as of today, we are afraid, it would not be appropriate for us to pass an order permitting the Petitioner’s minor daughter to terminate her pregnancy at this belated stage.”

Advocate Cusher requested the court to record that the DNA sample of the child be preserved to ascertain the role of the accused conclusively and the same could be used during the trial in case the victim suffers from any fatal consequences during delivery. The court said it would decide on the request during the next hearing and adjourned the plea.

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