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Bombay high court rejects teen rape survivor’s abortion plea

The Bombay high court has refused a minor rape survivor the permission to medically terminate her 27-week-long pregnancy because of a threat to her life due to the procedure.

mumbai Updated: Sep 11, 2018 05:30 IST
KAY Dodhiya
KAY Dodhiya
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Bombay high court,abortion,rape
The state submitted that after delivery, if the mother did not want the child, it would be handed over to the child welfare committee (CWC) for giving it up for adoption.(AFP/Picture for representation)

The Bombay high court has refused a minor rape survivor the permission to medically terminate her 27-week-long pregnancy because of a threat to her life due to the procedure. The court, however, kept her petition pending to ensure that she was compensated under the Manodhairya scheme and allowed to give up the child for adoption.

The bench of justice Abhay Oka and MS Sonak rejected the abortion plea under provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act after it was informed by a panel of six doctors of BJ Medical (Sassoon) College, Pune, that abortion poses a threat to her life.

The panel’s report stated that the foetus did not suffer from any anomaly and hence there was no problem in completing the term of the pregnancy.

Advocate Kuldeep Nikam, however, in his petition stated that the girl would face mental trauma for life if she was forced to complete the full term of the pregnancy. He said that even after informing the petitioner and her parents of the suggestions made by the bench during the hearing held in the chamber to complete the pregnancy, they had declined.

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 that after the delivery, if the mother did not want the child, it would be handed over to the child welfare committee (CWC) for giving it up for adoption.

The HC said that in light of the panel’s report, it could not permit the termination even though the petitioner insisted on the same. The court also directed the local authorities of Satara district to extend all help to the rape survivor to apply and get the benefit of the Manodhairya scheme as per the new slabs adopted by the state in December 2017.

After passing the order, the bench said that it was keeping the petition pending in the best interest of the petitioner.

The victim, a resident of a village in Satara district, was 17 when a common acquaintance raped her at her grandmother’s house in March. He threatened her of dire consequences if she disclosed about the rape.

However, her pregnancy came to light when she missed her menstrual cycle and was already five months pregnant. A case of rape under Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act was registered against the rapist.

As the pregnancy had advanced beyond the stipulated period of 20 weeks, according to section 5 of the Act, the survivor had to approach the Bombay high court to seek permission for termination of the pregnancy.

First Published: Sep 11, 2018 05:30 IST