HC allows 13-year-old rape victim to terminate pregnancy

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The Bombay High Court on Monday permitted a minor victim of rape to terminate her 24-week pregnancy.

A division bench of Justices N H Patil and Anuja Prabhudessai also sought to know from the Maharashtra government if there any circular or guidelines were issued to the police on how to handle such cases and directed it to revert after two weeks.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by father of the 13-year-old victim.

Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancies Act, termination of pregnancy which has crossed the 20-week gestation period is allowed with permission of high court.

The HC had last week interviewed the victim and directed the state-run JJ Hospital’s medical board to examine her and submit a report on Monday.

In its report, the board opined that the termination of pregnancy was advisable as its continuation would endanger the life of the girl and also have a negative psychological impact on her.

After perusing the report, the bench on Monday allowed the petition and directed the girl to appear before the JJ Hospital on Tuesday to undergo the medical termination of pregnancy.

“In the present case, the victim was taken for medical examination on March 17 this year and the police came to know that she was pregnant. If they had told the girl or her family about it at that time, she could have been attended to medically immediately,” Justice Patil said.

“There should be timely action. In this case, a month was lost. Police should be sensitised. When such cases are filed, the police should inform the victim, her parents or family about the options they have regarding termination of pregnancy,” the bench said.

If there are no guidelines or circular, we will direct the state government to issue them immediately, the HC noted.

According to prosecution, the girl was kidnapped from her house in Ulhasnagar near Mumbai on July 29 last year by a 23-year-old man.

The victim and accused were traced in Uttar Pradesh in March this year. The police arrested the man and brought the girl back to Mumbai on March 17.