A rape victim who is just 12 years old and was denied permission to terminate her pregnancy on medical grounds last month by the Punjab and Haryana High Court gave birth to a baby boy last week at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh. She has now offered the baby for adoption.
On an application moved by PGIMER, apprising the high court about the victim’s desire to offer the child for adoption, a division bench has called a responsible official of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). The bench of Justices Surya Kant and P B Bajanthri said a CARA official was needed “to explore and expedite the adoption of child born as a consequence of non-consensual relationship”.
The bench said such a responsibility has to be assigned to CARA keeping in view Guidelines Governing the Adoption of Children, 2011.
The girl’s mother had approached the high court in March, seeking permission for termination of pregnancy. On April 8, the high court declined permission since 34 weeks of pregnancy were already over.
“The appellant’s daughter is a 12-year-old minor girl who has been subjected to repeated sexual assaults and is now burdened with pregnancy of about 34 weeks. By the time, the hapless mother came to know about this hideous act, it had already crossed the maximum limitation of 20 weeks prescribed under Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, for lawful termination of an unwanted pregnancy,” the court had observed.
On Tuesday, the division bench also made the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and CARA parties in the case and issued notices seeking their replies by May 29.
“The PGI authorities are permitted to discharge the victim girl. However, before doing so, it may be examined whether she requires any psychological evaluation or counselling and if so, let the needful be done,” the bench said.
The court directed that the newborn should remain under the care and protection of PGIMER authorities in an appropriate unit until further orders.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines