Delhi HC Allows Minor to Abort Pregnancy While Maintaining Privacy

The Delhi High Court on Monday allowed a minor girl to approach a hospital here to for medical termination of pregnancy at 11 weeks of gestation and underlined her privacy be maintained in the process by the doctors and police.

Justice Prathiba M Singh said the medical practitioner will lodge a report in the matter without disclosing the name or identity of the 14-year-old or her family and the SHO concerned also will not disclose the details during the investigation.

The court’s order came on a petition by the minor through her mother seeking directions to be allowed to undergo medical termination of pregnancy while ensuring her identity is masked.

“Petitioner is free to approach the LNJP for medical termination of pregnancy ..The report shall be lodged (by the medical practitioner) without disclosing the minor’s identity or identity of the family. SHO shall also not disclose the same during the process of investigation,” ordered the court.

Lawyer Amit Mishra, appearing for the petitioner, said the pregnancy arose from a consensual relationship.

He said the petitioner wished to protect her identity in the procedure but no registered medical practitioner was willing to perform the procedure while keeping her name a secret.

The court noted the Supreme Court has already passed a judgement in favour of protection of a minor’s identity in cases of medical termination of pregnancy and proceeded to passed the directions.

In September 2022, the Supreme Court had extended the benefits of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act to minors who engage in consensual sexual activity by exempting doctors from disclosing their identity to the local police.

The top court had said it was necessary to harmoniously read both the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the MTP Act.

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“For the limited purposes of providing medical termination of pregnancy in terms of the MTP Act, we clarify that the RMP (Registered Medical Practitioners), only on request of the minor and the guardian of the minor, need not disclose the identity and other personal details of the minor in the information provided under Section 19(1) of the POCSO Act (information to local police)”, the bench had said.

It had provided a safeguard to the minors by exempting the RMPs from disclosing the identity of the minor in legal proceedings emanating under the POCSO law.

In January, while dealing with another case pertaining to medical termination of pregnancy, the high court had directed the city government to issue a circular that the identity of a minor girl or her family shall not be disclosed by the doctor in his report to the police.

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