Sunday, January 29, 2023

Rajasthan High Court allows abortion of two rape victims

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Rajasthan High Court has permitted two rape survivors to undergo abortion. In two separate orders, the Court asked the CMHOs of Kota and Jhunjhunu to constitute a medical board to conduct termination of pregnancies after getting written permission from rape survivors and their guardians.

Justice Pankaj Bhandari, while allowing the abortion, ordered the Chief Medical and Health Officer of Kota to immediately constitute a medical board to examine the health of the 17-year-old rape victim. The rape victim’s lawyer said she was into the 25th week of her pregnancy.

She was allegedly raped in September and police during her medical examination on February 20 found she was pregnant.

Following it, the child welfare committee of Kota petitioned POCSO court which declined permission on the grounds that she was more than 20 weeks pregnant. As a result, the matter was referred to the State legal Aid Authority and was later listed before the Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday.

The Court directed the health officials to preserve the foetus for DNA testing in future. The Petitioner’s counsel Shalini Sheoran in case of rape victim from Kota district said that earlier court had rejected request for pregnancy termination on ground that term of pregnancy of victim is more than 20 weeks and that a bar under Section 3(4) (a) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 on termination of pregnancy of a woman less than 18 years of age.

The Court observed that the Petitioner is a minor who was subjected to rape. The anguish caused by such pregnancy shall be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the victim. The court said that denial of permission for medical termination of pregnancy of a woman less than 18 years without the permission of a guardian is misreading the provision of subsection (a) of Section 3 (4) of the Act, as in each case, the girl’s father approached the court.

In the other case, Rajasthan High Court asked the Chief Medical and Health Officer of Jhunjhunu to constitute a medical board to conduct the abortion process of a rape victim. Justice Mahendra Kumar Goyal allowed the abortion on humanitarian ground.

— India Legal Bureau

Also Read: 

Abortions to be allowed at 24 weeks, cabinet approves changes to law

Abortion for Rape Survivors: A Salve on Wounds

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