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Bombay HC rejects teen rape survivor’s plea to abort foetus

A 17-year-old girl, who was allegedly raped by an acquaintance at her grandparents’ house earlier this year, has sought the permission to abort her pregnancy citing threat to her life.

india Updated: Sep 10, 2018 23:49 IST
KAY Dodhiya
KAY Dodhiya
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Bombay high court,Rape,Abortion
Section 3 of the MTP Act stipulates that the termination of pregnancy can only be allowed till 20 weeks. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Bombay high court on Monday refused a 17-year-old rape survivor permission to medically terminate her 27-week-long pregnancy because of a threat to her life.

The court, however, kept her petition pending to ensure she is compensated under the Manodhairya scheme and allowed her to give up the child for adoption after its birth.

The bench of Justice Abhay Oka and MS Sonak rejected the girl’s plea under provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act after a panel of six doctors of Pune’s BJ Medical (Sassoon) College said in a report that abortion posed a threat to her life. The report said the foetus did not suffer from any anomaly, so there was no problem completing the pregnancy.

Section 3 of the MTP Act stipulates that the termination of pregnancy can only be allowed till 20 weeks. Since the pregnancy had advanced beyond that, according to section 5 of the Act, the survivor had to approach court to seek permission to terminate it.

The girl is a resident of a village in Maharashtra’s Satara district. She was allegedly raped by an acquaintance at her grandparents’ house earlier this year. A case of rape under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act has been registered against him.

In the court on Monday, advocate Kuldeep Nikam pleaded that the girl would face mental trauma for life if she were forced to complete the full term of the pregnancy and deliver the baby. He said that even after informing the petitioner and her parents of the court’s suggestions, they preferred terminating the pregnancy.

The state, through government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani, submitted that the dean of the medical college had assured of providing the survivor proper care till the baby was delivered. He said if the mother did not want the baby after it was born, it would be handed over to the child welfare committee which would give it up for adoption.

After hearing all submissions, the court said it could not permit the termination in light of the medical panel’s report. It also directed Satara district authorities to extend all help to the rape survivor to apply and get the benefit of the Manodhairya scheme as per the new slabs adopted in December 2017.

First Published: Sep 10, 2018 23:49 IST