Man moves Bombay HC, seeks nod to end minor daughter’s 31-week pregnancy
The Bombay high court (HC) on Friday directed the dean of Sir JJ Hospital to set up a medical board and examine a Class 7 student who has petitioned HC for permission to terminate her 31-week pregnancy under provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
A division bench of justice AA Sayed and justice Madhav Jamdar, while hearing the petition, was informed by advocate Ashley Cusher that the applicant was the father of the 13-year-old who was sexually assaulted by an acquaintance and got pregnant. Though the girl had a bloated stomach in the past few months, the parents had brushed it aside as flatulence. However, later they took their daughter to a hospital and discovered that it was a pregnancy at an advanced stage of 30 weeks.
The petition stated that the family lives in a slum at Govandi, and the petitioner has three children. After the eldest of the three, who suffered from epilepsy, was cured by a man, the family trusted him, and he started frequenting their house. The petition alleged that the man started stalking the survivor. Seven-eight months ago, on one of the days, he found the minor alone and entered the home and raped her. He raped her on two occasions and threatened the minor against disclosing the act to her parents.
After the pregnancy was detected, the father lodged a police complaint against the man. As the girl was a minor, she was sent to the child welfare committee at Mankhurd.
Cusher submitted that the girl would not understand the implications of the pregnancy, and with every passing day she was undergoing irretrievable changes which will have a direct impact upon the foetus as well as on the survivor. He added that the continuation of pregnancy could pose severe trauma to the girl, and therefore, her father sought termination of the pregnancy under section 5 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.