Delhi HC permits minor survivor of rape to terminate pregnancy

Published on Jul 20, 2022 11:13 PM IST

The Delhi high court has permitted a minor survivor of sexual assault to terminate her pregnancy of 25 weeks and 6 days, noting that it is “forced” and would permanently scar her psyche, causing grave and irreparable injury to her mental health

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The Delhi high court has permitted a minor survivor of sexual assault to terminate her pregnancy of 25 weeks and 6 days, noting that it is “forced” and would permanently scar her psyche, causing grave and irreparable injury to her mental health.

Justice Yashwant Varma said that the mental and physical trauma that she would have to undergo if she were forced to carry the fetus and take on the onerous duties of motherhood is “unimaginable”.

“This court is of the firm opinion that if the petitioner was forced to go through with the pregnancy despite the same having been caused on account of the incident of sexual assault, it would permanently scar her psyche and cause grave and irreparable injury to her mental health. The court cannot visualise a more egregious invasion of her right to life as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution,” justice Varma said in an order on Tuesday, which was made public on Wednesday.

“...Undisputedly, the petitioner is a victim of rape. She is stated to be about 13 to 17 years old. The assault on her person and the defilement of her body would have undoubtedly left scars which would take years to heal. Her misery and suffering would stand compounded even more if she were forced to bear the mantle of motherhood at such a tender age. The court shudders to even imagine the state of despondency that would descend over her life,” the court said.

The petitioner, a minor, had approached the Delhi high court through her father praying for permission to undergo a medical termination of pregnancy.

The court directed the hospital concerned to constitute a medical board and oversee the termination of pregnancy. It also agreed to a request to preserve the DNA of the child because an FIR in the sexual assault is pending.

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