Courts Update Allahabad High Court orders board to report on the...

Allahabad High Court orders board to report on the feasibility of termination of minor rape victim’s pregnancy

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Allahabad Aug 28(ILNS): The Allahabad High Court on Friday constituted a medical board for carrying out a medical examination and submitting its recommendation and opinion on the feasibility of medical termination of a minor rape victim’s pregnancy.

The Division Bench comprising of Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and Justice Deepak Verma passed this order while hearing a petition filed by the rape victim through her father. In this case, the petitioner has approached the Court, through her guardian-petitioner no. 2 (father) for a mandamus directing the respondents to permit her to terminate her undesirable pregnancy.

Reliance has been placed on Explanation-I to sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 in contending that the pregnancy has resulted in such extreme anguish to her that it constitutes grave injury to her mental health.

“As per the radiological report of Chief Medical Officer, Bulandshahr, the date of birth of the victim is around 16-17 years and thus, she is a minor. Reliance has also been placed on the amendment made to the ‘Act’ by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, dated March 25, 2021 whereby the outer limit for abortion permissibility has been enhanced to 24 weeks”, the Court noted.

It is submitted as per the report of medical examination held on July 24,  2021 at B.B.D. Government Hospital, Bulandshahr, the age of fetus at that time was 14.6 weeks meaning thereby that as of date the pregnancy is of about 19 weeks.

“Section 3 of the Act permitted termination of pregnancy in accordance with the provisions of the said Act. The outer limit prescribed for termination of pregnancy was twenty weeks. The same has been increased to twenty four weeks by the Amendment Act of 2021. The Explanation-I to Section 3 of the Act, permits termination of pregnancy of a victim of rape by raising a presumption that the anguish caused by pregnancy in such cases constitute a grave injury to her mental health,” the Court observed.

Counsel for the petitioner states that it would be convenient for the petitioner to get her pregnancy terminated at Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College, Meerut. Accordingly, the court directed that the Principal, Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College, Meerut to constitute a board of four experts one each in the field of Gynecology, Psychiatry, Radiology or Sonology and Pediatrics.

The Court ordered that,

The First Additional District Judge, Meerut shall act as a member cum co-ordinator of the medical Board.

The Petitioner shall present herself before the Medical Board for medical examination on August 31, 2021, at 11 am. The Board after carrying out medical examination of the petitioner shall submit its opinion/recommendation in a sealed cover to the First Additional District Judge, Meerut, who shall forthwith transmit the same to this Court. The opinion/recommendation of the Board shall inter-alia be on the following aspects:

a) Length of pregnancy;

b) Whether continuance of the pregnancy would involve any risk to the life of the petitioner no. 1;

c) Whether continuance of the pregnancy would otherwise result in any grave injury to the petitioner no.1;

d) Whether there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from any serious physical or mental abnormality.

The report/recommendation of the Board shall positively be transmitted to the Court by September 02, 2021.

Mohan Srivastava, Standing Counsel shall communicate the order to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Bulandshahr, who shall provide full security to the petitioner and person accompanying her to medical college, Meerut for medical examination.

The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on September 3, 2021./ILNS/AP/SNG

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