Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Allahabad High Court allows termination of 20 weeks old pregnancy of a rape victim

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The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has allowed the termination of 20 weeks old pregnancy of a rape victim.

The Division Bench of Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan and Justice Vivek Kumar Singh passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Victim.

The writ petition has been filed for a direction in the nature of mandamus commanding opposite parties to make arrangements for termination of pregnancy of the petitioner after examining the same.

In this case, the petitioner is aged about 18 years having date of birth 10.10.2004. The petitioner is pregnant, having a pregnancy of about 20 weeks.

Counsel for the KGMU, Lucknow has produced the report of the Medical Board of K.G.M.U, Lucknow dated 20.10.2022 in a sealed cover, the same is taken on record. After opening the sealed cover, this Court has gone through the report. As per the said report, the petitioner is pregnant having a pregnancy of 18 weeks and 5 days as on 20.10.2022, therefore, as on today, her pregnancy is of about 20 weeks.

On the earlier occasion, the order dated 14.10.2022, the Court had come to the conclusion that the petitioner is a victim of rape and gave a specific direction to the Registrar of K.G.M.U, Lucknow or whosoever is competent in this regard, to get a Medical Board constituted for medical examination of the petitioner. The petitioner was directed to appear before the Registrar, K.G.M.U, Lucknow on 19.10.2022 who shall facilitate the aforesaid medical examination and if the same is not possible on the said date for some reason then it was directed to be conducted by 22.10.2022. The Medical Board was directed to examine as to whether the petitioner is pregnant and whether her mental and physical condition is such that she would be able to withstand termination of pregnancy.

These types of cases are one of the rarest of rare cases in which mental trauma of a person is involved. A victim of rape is subjected to life and death on daily basis till she is alive in this world. The trauma leaves a scar in the heart and mind of the victim, which cannot be erased in any manner of whatsoever nature.

The issue before the Court arose that what is the law with regard to termination of pregnancy. To this effect, S.N Tilhari, A.G.A has brought to the notice of the Court the law on this point. He has submitted that a certain amendment has been made in the Act.

The Court noted that,

Counsel for the petitioner has also relied upon a judgement of the Court dated 14.9.2021, wherein after taking into consideration the entire facts of the case as well as legal position, the Court observed as under:

“10. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, specially the fact that the victim was subjected to rape and she is carrying an unwanted pregnancy, which is constant cause of trauma and mental torture for her being a girl of tender age. This Court draws a presumption that the continuance of this unwanted pregnancy shall ‘constitute a grave injury to the mental health’ of the petitioner/victim, as provided by the legislature in Explanation 2 of Section 3 of the Act of 1971, quoted above as has been opined by the Apex Court in Z Versus State of Bihar & Others, 2018 (11) SCC 572.

11. In the light of the above, the Court allows the termination of pregnancy of the victim/petitioner subject to the condition that the Medical Board finds no risk to the life/health of the victim/petitioner.”

Counsel for the petitioner said that it would be too late if the matter remains pending as it is a question of life of a girl.

The directions so issued by the Division Bench in re: Victim (Minor) (supra) vide order dated 25.8.2022 are being followed in the case also. Therefore, in the light of what has been directed above and also considering the aforesaid orders of the Court as well as the order of the Apex Court, it would be expedient and in the interest of justice that the Court allows the petitioner to get her pregnancy terminated.

Thus, the Court directed that tomorrow itself the girl be admitted in K.G.M.U, Lucknow and after due tests, her pregnancy be terminated keeping in view the threat of life to her. It is reiterated that the directions so issued by the Division Bench in re: Victim (Minor) (supra) vide order dated 25.8.2022 shall be followed in its letter and spirit.

With the aforesaid observations and directions, the Court disposed of the writ petition.

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