Friday, January 27, 2023

Bombay High Court permits rape survivor to terminate 25-week pregnancy

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The Bombay High Court has given permission to a rape survivor to terminate her 25-week-old pregnancy, observing that a pregnancy from rape will only cause anguish and grave injury to the mental health of the girl.

Since the pregnancy period exceeded the 24-week-deadline prescribed under the Medial Termination of Pregnancy Act, the opinion of a registered medical practitioner was taken into account by the Court to assess the risk involved to the physical and mental health of the woman.

The Nagpur Bench of Justice S.B. Shukre and Justice A.L. Pansare based its decision on the medical board’s report, which said that continuing with pregnancy was causing the girl constant misery and negatively impacting her mental health.

Advocate S.H. Bhatia, appearing for the girl, apprised the Court that the petitioner was a victim of multiple acts of rape, which resulted in her pregnancy, which has now reached 25-26 weeks.

It was also highlighted that a complaint was filed with respect to the incident and the Police has registered an offence punishable under Section 376 (2)(n) of the Indian Penal Code and the investigation was going on.

If this pregnancy resulted in the birth of a child, it would simply add to the mental anguish she has already suffered, the Advocate argued.

Additional Government Pleader NS Rao submitted that since the procedure under the MTP Act had been followed, the petition could be allowed.

Accordingly, the petition was allowed.

The Court, however, directed that before the pregnancy was actually terminated, the girl’s written consent be taken.

The investigating officer was also permitted to remain present at the place where the termination of pregnancy will be done and take appropriate samples for DNA testing and profiling.

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