16-yr-old gang rape survivor in Rajasthan has to struggle to end her 14-week pregnancy
Despite the law allowing termination of pregnancy until 20 weeks, the girl, who was raped by boys of her village repeatedly, has had to run from pillar to post.jaipur Updated: May 27, 2017 13:25 IST
Sunita (not her real name), a gang rape survivor, was 12 weeks pregnant on May 10 when she approached Dholpur’s principal medical officer (PMO) for terminating her pregnancy.
But the government doctor refused to take action even though law allows a registered medical practitioner to terminate a pregnancy that is less than 12-weeks old.
- According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, pregnancy of more than 12 weeks but less than 20 weeks can be terminated if two or more registered medical practitioners are of the opinion that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or cause grave injury to physical or mental health.
- The law explains that anguish caused by a pregnancy caused by rape is presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.
The 16-year-old then knocked the door of a local court in the district’s Badi town and was again refused permission.
On May 18, she petitioned the Rajasthan high court. On May 25, the HC asked the Dholpur PMO to constitute a medical board within three days of receipt of its order to end the pregnancy.
Sunita’s pregnancy is 14 weeks now, but she has to wait longer as the Dholpur PMO said he is yet to receive the court order. He said he will set up the board the moment he gets the order.
“The girl, who will turn 17 in August this year, was raped by a boy of her village on February 1,” Dinesh Kumar Garg, the rape survivor’s counsel in the high court said.
“His friend filmed the act, and the two then sexually exploited her for two months, threatening to put the video of the act on social media,” Garg said.
Only after her family found out about her pregnancy did Sunita tell them about the sexual assault, following which a complaint was lodged against Durg Kushwaha and Babloo Kushwaha on April 17 for gang-raping her repeatedly.
The two were arrested and are in judicial custody now, Kanchanpur police station SHO, Shaitan Singh said.
Sunita’s father said they wrote to the district collector and superintendent of police on May 1 for permission to terminate the pregnancy.
Dholpur collector Shuchi Tyagi said she did not receive the application and added that she was not authorised to give permission. “Only courts can permit this.”
After they turned down the request, the family approached the court of additional chief judicial magistrate No. 2 in Badi. The court rejected the permission on May 12.
Sunita’s family depends on agriculture for livelihood. She has five brothers and a sister. She dropped out of school after Class 6.