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HC relief to rape survivor, allows abortion of 23-week pregnancy

Considering the urgency of the matter, the bench of justice Rongon Mukhopadyay held court on Sunday (holiday) from 6pm to 8pm at courtroom number 4 of the high court to pass the order.

ranchi Updated: Oct 16, 2017 12:48 IST
Bedanti Saran
RIMS Ranchi
RIMS Ranchi(HT File Photo)

The Jharkhand high court on Sunday allowed the abortion plea of a minor rape survivor, asking the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) authorities to carry out termination of a girl’s 23-week pregnancy on October 17.

Considering the urgency of the matter, the bench of justice Rongon Mukhopadyay held court on Sunday (holiday) from 6pm to 8pm at courtroom number 4 of the high court to pass the order.

“The order came after RIMS medical board, which examined the girl on Sunday, submitted a report highlighting that medical termination of foetus of 23 weeks can be done under special circumstance with some medical/surgical and interventional risk as involved in any other normal case,” said lawyer Ram Subhag Singh, representing the rape survivor.

The 15-year-old Jamshedpur girl, daughter of a daily wage labourer, had approached the high court after city hospitals refused abortion of the 23-week foetus.

The bench also asked Jamshedpur senior superintendent of police to make necessary arrangements for transportation of the victim along with her parents to Ranchi so that doctors could operate the girl on the fixed date. It directed the state government to bear all medical expenses that would incur in the process. It asked RIMS to preserve the terminated foetus, as it might be necessary for the purpose of conducting DNA test.

Earlier, the court on Friday had ordered the government to constitute a medical board to examine the girl to find out if there was any risk factor involved in the abortion.

On Saturday, the court didn’t find the medical board’s report satisfactory as it failed to clarify the degree of risk involved.

The report mainly opined that the victim’s age was about 15-year-old and the duration of pregnancy was about 23 weeks. It said that as per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, medical termination of pregnancy could be done only upto 20 weeks.

The court had then asked the board to clarify about the degree of risk involved in carrying out the abortion.

A second report was submitted highlighting “the medical termination of pregnancy in second trimester was risky”.

Finding the information inadequate to arrive at a decision for proper adjudication of the case, the court had rejected the two reports and reconstituted a fresh medical board at RIMS to examine the girl.

According to an FIR lodged by the victim’s mother on August 30, one Udia Gagrai had been raping her daughter for last four months. Following the complaint, the police got the girl medically examined. It was found that the victim was pregnant. The police had then arrested Gagrai.