Mother of a rape victim who is only 14 years old approached the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam. She prayed that doctors should terminate the pregnancy as the minor victim was not mentally or physically prepared to have the baby. It is mentioned that the victim was 22 weeks pregnant.
When the case came up for admission, the Court directed the Superintendent of Government Medical College Hospital, Pariyaram to constitute a team of experts to determine if medical termination of the pregnancy was even possible.
In the report, the medical committee stated that if the victim was allowed to continue the pregnancy, it might harm the victim’s physical and mental well-being. The medical committee also stated that oral interventions might not be useful, and the only option was to terminate the pregnancy surgically.
In the doctor’s opinion, the pregnancy should be terminated, and the committee also pointed out that the minor victim and her mother also wanted the same.
Observation of the Court
Hon’ble Court agreed with the medical committee’s findings and allowed the termination of pregnancy of the minor victim.
To arrive at a conclusion described above, the Court referred to many cases where the pregnancy was allowed to be terminated even if the victim was pregnant for more than 20 weeks.
In ABC v. Union of India & others and Ms X v. the State of Kerala and Others, the Kerala High Court had allowed termination as the victim was mentally unprepared to have a baby even though the pregnancy exceeded 20 weeks noted the Bench. While in Sharmistha Chakrabortty v. Union of India, the COurt permitted termination as the victim was only 13 years old.
The Bench opined that the medical committee’s opinion was paramount in such cases, and in the instant case, the medical committee concluded that termination of pregnancy was the best option.
Hon’ble High Court allowed the minor victim to terminate her pregnancy and directed the Superintendent of Government Medical College, Kannur, Pariyaram to ensure that a competent team of doctors attend to the girl and termination should occur at the earliest.
The doctors were also instructed by the Court to take tissue of the foetus and preserve it for DNA analysis as a criminal case is pending in the instant case.
If a child is born despite efforts to terminate the pregnancy, then the doctors and the state should ensure that all possible help is provided to the girl.
Title: XXX(victim) vs Union of India & Ors
Case No.: WP(C). No.29230 OF 2020(C)
Date of Order:04.01.2020
Coram: Hon’ble Justice PV Asha