Rajasthan HC allows medical termination of 28-week pregnancy of rape survivor - Hindustan Times
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Rajasthan HC allows medical termination of 28-week pregnancy of rape survivor

ByDinesh Bothra
May 28, 2024 04:13 PM IST

The court directed that in the event the fetus is found to be alive, the hospital must provide all necessary medical assistance, including access to an incubation facility

The Rajasthan high court on Monday allowed medical termination of pregnancy of a 20-year-old rape survivor.

The bench also instructed that if the fetus is not alive, appropriate measures should be taken to preserve evidence. (Representative file photo)
The bench also instructed that if the fetus is not alive, appropriate measures should be taken to preserve evidence. (Representative file photo)

The court directed that in the event the fetus is found to be alive, the hospital must provide all necessary medical assistance, including access to an incubation facility, either within the same hospital or at another facility equipped for incubation, to ensure the survival of the fetus.

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Justice Sudesh Bansal also instructed that if the fetus is not alive, appropriate measures should be taken to preserve evidence for subsequent DNA testing by collecting tissues from the fetus.

Following the initial hearing of the petition filed by the rape survivor seeking permission for abortion, a single bench directed on May 23 to conduct a medical examination by a medical board.

The report of the medical board, dated May 24, was submitted by the public prosecutor, indicating that the survivor’s pregnancy exceeds the time limit stipulated by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.

Therefore, subject to the high court’s directive, the survivor may undergo abortion with her high-risk consent, in accordance with the court’s instructions.

Also Read: MP high court allows medical termination of pregnancy of minor rape survivor

The counsel representing the petitioner, Satish Kumar, stated that the 20-year-old consents to undergo a high-risk abortion, as it would be severely detrimental to her mental health if the pregnancy is not terminated, and she is forced to give birth to an unwanted child.

According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, termination of pregnancy up to twenty weeks is permitted in cases where the continuation of the pregnancy would endanger the life of the pregnant woman or cause grave injury to her physical or mental health.

“The record indicates that the petitioner previously sought permission to terminate her pregnancy before the sessions judge, at which time her pregnancy was within the permissible limits of the statutory provisions of the Act. However, on May 15, 2024, the sessions judge declined to grant permission for termination of pregnancy solely due to jurisdictional reasons. Therefore, it cannot be argued that there was any delay on the part of the petitioner-survivor woman in seeking termination of her pregnancy,” noted the bench.

“The court finds it just and appropriate to exercise its inherent powers to grant permission to the petitioner for termination of her pregnancy. Accordingly, the court directs the superintendent of the government hospital in Jaipur to make arrangements for the termination of the petitioner’s pregnancy, subject to her providing free consent to undergo such termination under high risk. The petitioner is directed to appear before the Medical Board for the purpose of terminating her pregnancy, and the procedure shall be carried out promptly by the respondents, State Authorities,” the court ordered.

“A copy of this order shall be sent to the Rajasthan Legal Services Authority, Jaipur, as well as to the District Legal Services Authority, Dausa, to provide all necessary financial and other assistance to the petitioner to facilitate the termination of her pregnancy. The State Authorities are also directed to provide all necessary assistance to the petitioner as well as to her parents during her hospital stay for the aforementioned purpose”, the bench added.

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