Rape survivor can terminate 29-week pregnancy: Bombay high court

Though there were no anomalies in the foetus, the experts’ panel observed that the continuation of the pregnancy could impact the minor survivor’s mental health
The Bombay high court has sought a report on the outcome of the pregnancy termination and posted hearing of the petition to September 20. (HT File)
The Bombay high court has sought a report on the outcome of the pregnancy termination and posted hearing of the petition to September 20. (HT File)
Updated on Sep 13, 2021 12:39 AM IST
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By KAY Dodhiya

The Bombay high court (HC) recently permitted a minor rape survivor to terminate a 29-week pregnancy even though there were no anomalies in the foetus. The decision came after the medical experts’ panel appointed by HC observed in its post-examination report that the minor was “anguished” by the pregnancy and the continuation of the same could impact her mental health.

The division bench of justice Ujjal Bhuyan and justice Madhav Jamdar, while hearing the petition filed by the minor’s mother, was informed by advocate Ashley Cusher that the petitioner’s daughter has become pregnant after she was raped earlier this year. A first information report (FIR) in the case was registered at Tulinj police station, Nallasopara, in Palghar district.

Cusher submitted that the minor was not willing to continue with the pregnancy as it would not only stigmatise her but would also have an impact on her mental health in the future. Hence, the termination of pregnancy be allowed.

In an earlier hearing on September 7, HC had directed the dean of Sir JJ Hospital to constitute a medical board of experts and examine the minor and submit its recommendations. The report was submitted on September 9.

The report observed that though no abnormalities were detected in the foetus, the minor was anguished by the pregnancy and continuation of the pregnancy could lead to pregnancy-related complications, including impacting the mental health of the survivor. In light of this observation, the board recommended medical termination of the pregnancy.

After the bench perused the report on September 10, it permitted the petitioner’s daughter to undergo the termination of pregnancy at JJ hospital. HC also directed the authorities to preserve the blood and DNA samples of the foetus after terminating pregnancy and hand over the samples to the investigating agency to enable them to use it to bolster its case against the accused.

The court then sought a report on the outcome of the termination and posted hearing of the petition to September 20.

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Thursday, October 21, 2021