In a special sitting on Sunday, the Jharkhand High Court allowed medical termination of pregnancy of a 15-year-old rape victim from East Singhbhum district. The court relied on the opinion given by a medical board of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), which said that the risk to life of the girl was not grave in case the pregnancy is terminated.
A single judge bench of Justice Rongon Mukhopadhyay said, Petitioner, who is being represented through her mother, has suffered mental anguish being a victim of sexual abuse and her agony has further intensified due to her pregnancy, and considering the mental state of the victim as also the report of the Medical Board of RIMS, Ranchi, which has opined the risk factor as in any other ordinary case, this Court thinks it appropriate that the termination of pregnancy of the petitioner should be allowed.
The Court has also fixed October 17 as the date on which the girl pregnancy would be terminated at RIMS. East Singhbhum SSP has been ordered to ensure that the girl was brought to RIMS on time and then, after she is fit, she is taken back to her house in protection. Further, the state government has been directed to bear the entire burden of treatment and RIMS has been asked to provide her best possible medical and operative care.
Earlier, on October 13, the court had directed the authorities at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College and Hospital (MGMMCH) of Jamshedpur to constitute a medical board and give an opinion about the possibility of termination of pregnancy. The MGMMCH told the court that the girl was pregnant by 23 weeks and, under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, a fetus was not supposed to be more than 20 weeks.
The court then directed the RIMS authorities to constitute a board and give an opinion. RIMS Medical Superintendent, S K Chowdhary, who was present before the court, conveyed the opinion of the Board, which said that the girl was around 15 years of age and was carrying pregnancy 23 (one week more or less). It opined: Medical termination of pregnancy having foetus of gestational age of about 23 weeks 1 day +/1 week can be done under special circumstance with some medical/surgical and interventional risk as in any other ordinary such case.”
The FIR, in this case, was registered at Sidgora police station in East Singhbhum on August 30, after the girl’s parents found that their daughter had become pregnant. They then approached the MGMMCH with a request to terminate the pregnancy but were told that it required a court order since the pregnancy was more than 20 weeks. The victim’s mother then approached the High Court.
The accused in the case is a driver, whom the girl and her family knew and who lived in the same locality. Being contract labourers, the parents often had to go out for work leaving their daughter behind. Taking advantage of being acquainted the accused sexually exploited her, which led to her pregnancy. Following registration of the case, the accused was arrested and is currently in judicial custody. We are making arrangements for the girl to be taken to RIMS on Tuesday, said an East Singhbhum police officer.