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Bombay HC Allows Cancer-afflicted Minor Rape Survivor to Terminate 24-week Pregnancy

The girl's pregnancy resulting from the rape was detected only recently when she went to a local hospital for her chemotherapy session.


Updated:September 14, 2018, 9:12 PM IST
Bombay HC Allows Cancer-afflicted Minor Rape Survivor to Terminate 24-week Pregnancy
The Bombay high court.

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Friday permitted a 14-year-old rape victim afflicted with cancer to medically terminate her pregnancy, which is now in the 24th week.

A bench of justice AS Oka and justice MS Sonak asked the girl to visit the JJ Hospital at 11am on Saturday, and directed the dean of the hospital to ensure that medical termination of the pregnancy was performed by expert doctors expeditiously.

The girl's parents had approached the high court on Wednesday, seeking permission for the termination. According to the plea, the girl was raped earlier this year and an FIR was registered in the case.

However, her pregnancy resulting from the rape, was detected only recently when she went to a local hospital for her chemotherapy session. She has been suffering from blood cancer since 2010, her lawyer Kuldeep Nikam told the court.

The girl's father is a daily wage labourer and her mother works as a domestic help. After learning about the pregnancy, they approached an NGO which helped them get in touch with advocate Nikam, who filed the plea in the high court.

The bench had earlier directed the dean of the JJ Hospital to constitute a panel of expert doctors, including a psychiatrist, to assess the girl's health condition and to suggest whether medical termination of the pregnancy at such a late stage can be permitted. After perusing the report on Friday, the bench granted relief to the girl.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act permits abortions after consultation with one doctor up to 12 weeks. Between 12 and 20 weeks, medical opinion of two doctors is required in such cases where the foetus has abnormalities, or in which the pregnant woman faces risks to her physical or mental well-being due to continuing with the pregnancy.

Beyond the 20-week limit, exceptions are legally permissible only if continuation of the pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the unborn child or the mother. The bench also suggested that the girl's parents approach the Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA) to seek legal and financial assistance for the girl's education and well-being in the future.

Justice Oka said in the past, in a similar case, the MSLSA and some members of the bar had helped sponsor the education of a minor rape victim. Advocate Nikam informed the bench that while the girl used to go to school earlier, she had discontinued her studies following the rape.

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