The Bombay High Court permitted a 13-year-old rape survivor to undergo medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) on Tuesday, observing that the continuation of the pregnancy would greatly impact on the minor’s ‘psychological mental health’.
A division bench of justices Gautam Patel and Madhav Jamdar permitted the minor to undergo MTP while hearing a petition filed by her mother through advocate Ashley Cusher.
Government pleader Poornima Kantharia submitted the report of the medical board, which categorically stated that the pregnancy must be terminated as its continuation could lead to complications.
The judges noted in their order: “Their (medical board) opinion is unanimous that the pregnancy must be terminated. A continuation may well lead to complications.”
The judges also took note of the report which said that the pregnancy could adversely affect the minor’s psychological health.
“A continuation of the pregnancy is also, in the opinion of the board, bound to have a great impact on the pregnant minor’s psychological mental health. The risk associated with the continuing the pregnancy is far greater than the termination,” noted HC.
The incident came to light when the minor’s mother noticed her bloated belly while getting her ready for a Katha dance competition in December last year. Her home pregnancy test came positive. Initially, the girl denied that anything was amiss.
Her mother then brought her to JJ Hospital in Mumbai from their hometown Ratnagiri.
On her way, the girl informed her mother that she had been sexually assaulted on at least two occasions by her taekwondo instructor. He had threatened to withhold her black belt were she to confide in anyone, said Cusher.
The girl was admitted to JJ Hospital, where she was found to be 28 weeks pregnant. The doctors opined that there were “major chances of premature birth, low birth weight, respiratory distress syndrome, electrolyte imbalance, kidney disease and can be fatal for both, the minor and the child”.
Besides, the survivor and the child would not be able to lead a normal life as it would require continuation of medication causing immense mental agony, the doctors had said.
A zero FIR was filed and transferred to concerned police station in Ratnagiri.
Allowing the MTP, the HC has directed the doctors to preserve DNA samples as these would be required during the trial.
“If the foetus survives, then appropriate neo-natal care will have to be provided in the hospital itself,” observed HC.
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