Termination of pregnancy of minor rape victim after 22 weeks, permitted

Gujarat High Court: Considering the fragile physical and mental health of the minor rape victim (‘Petitioner’), the Court allowed the Petitioner to terminate her pregnancy after 22 weeks of pregnancy as an exception to the provision of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The Court said that the continuance of her pregnancy can cause grave injury to her mental health.

The Court followed the reasoning in Bhavakiben v. State of Gujarat in Special Criminal Application (Direction) No. 1155 of 2016, wherein the ‘best interest’ of the victim was to be the parameter, necessitating careful enquiry into medical opinion on the feasibility of the pregnancy as well as the social repercussions. In the present case, the victim suffered from fragile health and severe anemia, at gestation of 22 weeks and 3 days. Learned APP Mr. Ronak Raval while relying upon some of the judgments delivered by this Court and submitted that the Court may direct for termination of pregnancy, if deems fit, considering the mental health and overall picture. The Court allowed the prosecutrix-petitioner and her parents the right to determine the further course of action with the advice of the Senior Expert Doctor (PDU, Government Medical College, Rajkot) and directed the medical team to conduct all the required tests including haemoglobin test and to report her status to the Court in a week’s time before proceeding to terminate her pregnancy. Further, the Medical Superintendent, PDU Civil Hospital Rajkot directed to hand over tissues from the foetus to the Police Inspector at the Mahila Police Station in Rajkot, for transmission to the Forensic Science Laboratory. [Madhuben Arvindbhai Nimavat v. State of Gujarat, 2016 SCC OnLine Guj 662, decided 08.06.2016]

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