SC Rejects Plea of 10 Yr Old Rape Victim’s Plea To Abort, Orders Panels In States To Examine Such Cases.
The Supreme Court today rejected the plea by a 10 year old rape victim for aborting a 32-week-old fetus which meant that she will have to deliver a baby in a months time.
The dismissal of plea came after a medical report by PGIMER hospital Chandigarh said termination of pregnancy at this stage will have a grave effect on health of the girl.
Petition had initially said fetus was 26 week old but medical examination revealed it was 32 week old.
CJI Khehar told Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that such cases were piling up in the apex court and “that too when time is too short for us to decide”.
The CJI said till the time bill for extending the legal limit of abortion was pending some alternative mechanism should be there at state level for medical tests.
“In view of the recommendation by the medical board which is satisfied that it is neither in the interest of girl child or the live fetus which is 32 week old to order abortion, we decline the prayer”.
The bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar had on July 24 ordered setting up of a medical board comprising of top doctors of Chandigarh’s PGIMER hospital to examine if her health will be adversely affected if the pregnancy continues.
“The exercise is to ascertain the health of the girl concerned and the foetus and and to ascertain if the pregnancy can be continued for a full term”, the order had said.
The court had also made Member Secretary of Chandigarh Legal Service Authority a party to oversee all the requirements and also ensure that today’s order is complied with.
A report has been sought from him in a sealed cover by today.
Her lawyer had sought sought direction to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Law and Justice to immediately constitute a “better” medical board comprising AIIMS doctors and ensure the safe termination of her pregnancy.
The petition has been filed in the wake of a Chandigarh district court’s July 18 order refusing to let the girl undergo the abortion after it was confirmed that she was 26-week pregnant.
The petition, filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, has also sought that appropriate guidelines be framed by the top court to set up a permanent medical board in each district of India for expedient termination of pregnancies in exceptional cases involving child rape survivors under the best possible medical facilities.
“The medical experts have categorically opined that if the 10-year-old rape survivor is forced to give birth through normal delivery or C-section, it may be fatal to the life of the girl as well her child,” the petition filed through advocate Nath Tripathy said.
The petition also sought direction to the Centre to amend Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, so as to permit termination of pregnancies of more than 20 weeks, particularly involving child rape survivors after obtaining requisite opinion from a permanently constituted medical board. The medical board should be constituted in each district comprising renowned medical practitioners from the reputed hospitals of India, it said.
The courts allow medical termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and can make an exception if the fetus is genetically abnormal.