The Bombay High Court on Friday allowed a 12-year-old rape survivor to get her 23-week long pregnancy medically terminated.
The bench of Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice Surendra Tavade accepted the recommendation saying “In the case at hand, the physical and mental trauma that will be suffered by the minor, if the pregnancy is not terminated, requires no elaboration”.
The court has directed the hospital to preserve blood and tissue samples of the foetus which may be required as forensic evidence in the criminal case. The court has further directed the doctors to ensure that all necessary facilities are provided to the child for saving its life if it is born alive. The HC clarified that if the newborn is alive and the petitioner woman and her daughter are not willing to or not in a position to take responsibility of such a child, the State and its agencies will have to assume full responsibility for it.
The mother of the rape survivor had filed the petition in the first week of June, saying she suspected that her minor daughter was pregnant. On enquiry, the child revealed that she was repeatedly raped by some people from the neighbourhood.
The woman then approached the local police station in Sangli and on the basis of her complaint, an FIR for rape was registered on June 5. On June 16, she went to a government hospital where she was informed that the pregnancy could not be terminated without the permission of the High Court as it had crossed 20 weeks limit set out by the Medical Termination of Pregnany Act, 1971.
A medical board from the Government Medical College at Miraj, Maharashtra examined the 12-year-old pursuant as per the order passed by the HC on June 26. The medical board opined that if allowed to progress, the pregnancy will have serious repercussions on the general and mental health of the survivor and therefore she should be allowed to terminate the pregnancy.
Court has now asked the petitioner woman to approach the government medical college at Miraj where the minor’s unwanted pregnancy will be medically terminated on July 6.