The Bombay High Court has permitted a 17-year-old rape victim to terminate her 25-week pregnancy even though a report submitted by the civic-run KEM Hospital adviced against the abortion.
A division bench of Justices K.K. Tated and Milind Jadhav gave the order on Tuesday while hearing the girl’s petition filed through her father, seeking permission to undergo medical termination of her 25-week pregnancy.
As per the plea, the girl is a victim of rape and a case against the perpetrator is lodged at the Vakola police station in Mumbai.
Provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act do not permit a woman to terminate pregnancy, if it has crossed 20 weeks and she will have to seek the high courts permission to do so.
The victim, in her plea seeking permission to undergo medical termination of pregnancy, said her mental and physical health is at risk.
The court last week directed the petitioner to appear before the medical board of the KEM Hospital in Mumbai for examination and sought a report from the board.
The board in its report advised against termination and said if the pregnancy is continued, a healthy baby could be delivered and the petitioner and her family could then decide if they want to care of the baby or put him/her up for adoption.
The board said the petitioner should be able to take care of the baby with psychological support and counselling.
The bench in its order, however, noted that in the present case the pregnancy was caused by rape and hence, there is no doubt that continuance of this pregnancy “is causing a grave injury to the mental health of the petitioner.”
Therefore, the court permitted the petitioner to undergo medical termination of the pregnancy.
“In case the child is born alive during the termination procedure and if the petitioner and her parents are not willing or are not in a position to take responsibility of the baby, then the state government and the agencies concerned will have to assume full responsibility of the child,” the court directed.