A division bench of the Gujarat High Court permitted termination of a 14-week pregnancy of a 14-year-old girl from Botad who was allegedly kidnapped and raped in May this year.
Advocate Arjundev Zala, representing the parents of the minor child, moved a habeas corpus petition before the Gujarat HC in August after they alleged there was no action by the Botad police on an FIR they filed on May 28, a day after she went missing.
The accused was charged under sections 363 (kidnapping from lawful guardianship) and 366 (kidnapping a woman under the pretext of marriage, illicit sex, etc) of the Indian Penal Code , as well as under sections 8 (sexual assault) and 12 (sexual harassment of a child) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act, 2012.
The girl, who was presented before the court via video-conferencing through the Botad district court for hearing last week, informed the court that she was with a 21-year-old man from Botad, who was earlier named as an accused in the FIR.
The girl insisted that she did not wish to join her parents and requested to keep her at a women’s shelter home. The court of Justices Sonia Gokani and NV Anjaria ruled to determine the age of the foetus if she was found to be pregnant and the “possibility of its termination with a specific angle of safety…”.
A report submitted by the obstetrics and gynaecology department at Sir Takhatsinhji Hospital, Bhavangar, in the court on September 18 said that she was 14 weeks pregnant and medical tests confirmed that “there is no danger in getting the MTP (medical termination of pregnancy) process done”.
Since it was “a case of alleged rape in a POCSO matter, with the victim being only 14 years of age”, the court was of the the opinion that the direction for medically termination of pregnancy was “imminent”.
The girl has expressed her desire to join her parents once her medical procedures are completed and she is discharged from hospital.