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12-year-old pregnant rape survivor released from destitute home in Mumbai

The Mumbai girl’s pregnancy came to light after she gained weight

mumbai Updated: Aug 15, 2017 09:39 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Rape survivor,Pregnant
Legal and medical experts were outraged at CWC’s decision to keep the girl in custody for over six days.(Pic for Representation)

After spending almost a week at Child and Welfare Committee (CWC) destitute home, a 12-year-old rape survivor of Mumbai was released on Monday evening. Mother of the girl is most likely to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Supreme Court on Tuesday to allow her to abort her 27-week foetus, her lawyers said.

“She was extremely uncomfortable at the destitute home and we had been requesting CWC to let her be with her parents in such a time of distress,” said a family friend. The girl was shifted to Aasha Sadan, a state-run destitute home after her family filed a case against her father’s helper for allegedly raping her.

Dr TP Lahane, dean of JJ Hospital, said she was brought to the hospital on Monday. “She has undergone necessary physical evaluation. If a psychological evaluation is needed, we will do it as per CWC’s request,” said Dr Lahane.

However, legal and medical experts were outraged at CWC’s decision to keep the girl in custody for over six days. “The accused was arrested within 24 hours of registering the case and since the girl was in no need of immediate medical attention, it was important to let her stay with the parents in such time of psychological distress. In such cases, even the child’s decision is considered vital,” said a medico-legal expert.

Sneha Mukherjee, one of the lawyers to represent the girl in Supreme Court, said they are hoping the petition will be filed by Tuesday evening. “We are waiting for the vakalatnama from family, allowing us to represent them in the courts. As soon as we get that, we are positive to file the petition by evening,” said Mukherjee.

The Mumbai girl’s pregnancy came to light after she gained weight. Her mother took her to a doctor, who referred them to gynaecologist Dr Nikhil Datar, who offers legal aid to women who want an abortion after the deadline. However by that time, the girl was already in her 27 week of gestation.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, does not allow abortions beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy, though courts have made exceptions if the foetus has a serious medical abnormality or if the mother’s life is at risk.

First Published: Aug 15, 2017 00:56 IST