The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to constitute a medical board of four doctors to examine a minor rape victim who sought permission to abort her 24-week pregnancy.
Ordering the AIIMS medical superintendent to constitute a board consisting of three senior gynecologists and a clinical psychiatrist, the court said the panel should examine the girl to assess if there was a serious threat to her life, based on her mental and physical state in case the pregnancy was not terminated.
In case the panel failed to reach a consensus, the majority view would prevail. The panel can decide to terminate her pregnancy keeping in view her physical and mental condition.
In such a situation, tissue sample from the foetus has to be preserved for DNA analysis to be used as evidence in the kidnapping-cum-rape case, justice AK Pathak said.
Asking the sixteen-and-a-half-year-old girl to appear before the medical board on Wednesday, the court disposed of the petition filed by her father on her behalf.
The order came hours after the Supreme Court allowed a rape victim from Mumbai to terminate 24-week pregnancy following a report by a panel of doctors that said the malformed foetus posed a danger to her life. The SC relaxed the 20-week legal restriction on abortions imposed by law.
Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, a woman can be allowed to terminate her pregnancy between 12 and 20 weeks only if two registered practitioners express a unanimous opinion that continuing with it would threaten the mother’s life or that the foetus had severe abnormalities.
Justice Pathak had earlier directed the Delhi government to constitute a panel of three doctors to give its opinion on the physical and mental health of the teenager by Monday.
Initially, it had asked Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Hospital to constitute the panel. But later it directed AIIMS after it was informed that DDU hospital did not have a psychiatrist.
The court directed the government to make arrangements for her stay at the hospital if her pregnancy was decided to be terminated.
The Delhi government’s counsel told the court the police had arrested two persons in connection with the kidnapping and rape of the minor.