Supreme Court Approves Medical Termination Of Pregnancy For 14-Year-Old Rape Survivor

Supreme Court Approves Medical Termination Of Pregnancy For 14-Year-Old Rape Survivor

The court, on Friday conducted an urgent hearing after the court timings following a plea by minor’s mother challenging the Bombay HC's order refusing MTP.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Monday, April 22, 2024, 09:59 PM IST
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Supreme Court of India |

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed a 14-year-old rape survivor to undergo a medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) at over 29 weeks of pregnancy, underlining that continuing the pregnancy “may impact negatively on physical and mental well being of the minor”. 

“These are very, very exceptional cases where we have to protect the children...every passing hour is very crucial for her,” a bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala observed.

Court Orders Immediate Medical Termination Of Minor's Pregnancy 

The court has directed the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital at Sion to immediately constitute a team for undertaking the medical termination of pregnancy of the minor.

The court, on Friday conducted an urgent hearing after the court timings at 5.15pm, following a plea by minor’s mother challenging the Bombay high Court’s order refusing permission. 

Her advocates, Shantanu Adkar, Ashley Cusher and Bharti Tyagi, submitted that the minor was subjected to sexual assault. The FIR was registered on March 20 by Turbhe police when the girl’s parents realised that she was pregnant. By then, she was more than 24 weeks pregnant, they contended. 

Medical Board's Assessment Leads To Approval For Minor's Pregnancy Termination

The SC had then asked the Sion Hospital to immediately constitute a medical board to determine whether continuing the pregnancy could endanger the physical or mental health of the girl or the foetus, and submit a report.

Additional solicitor-general Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, informed the bench that the medical report stated that “continuation of pregnancy could cause psychological trauma to the patient”. 

“The Medical Board at Sion Hospital has clearly opined that the continuation of the pregnancy against the will of the minor “may impact negatively on physical and mental well being of the minor who is barely 14 years old,” the bench noted while allowing the medical termination of pregnancy of the minor. 

Maharashtra Government Directed To Cover Costs Amid Controversy

The apex court has asked the Maharashtra government to bear the expenses for the medical procedure. 

The high court, on April 4, refused permission based on report prepared by medical board of JJ Hospital. The apex court noted that medical report relied upon by the High Court failed to evaluate the physical and mental status of the minor victim, specifically in light of the context of the alleged sexual assault. 

As per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, medical termination of pregnancy is prohibited past 24 weeks unless the pregnancy poses a severe threat to the woman’s life or involves substantial fetal abnormalities.

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