Allahabad HC Orders Medical Aid to Minor Rape Victim Who Filed Petition to End 28-Week Pregnancynewsbhunt

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Reported By: Salil Tiwari

Last Updated: September 07, 2023, 16:23 IST

The  bench observed that in case of sexual assault, denying a woman the right to say no to medical termination of pregnancy and fasten her with responsibility of motherhood would amount to denying her human right to live with dignity'. (Representational image)

The bench observed that in case of sexual assault, denying a woman the right to say no to medical termination of pregnancy and fasten her with responsibility of motherhood would amount to denying her human right to live with dignity’. (Representational image)

Considering the poor financial condition of the 15-year-old rape victim and her family members, the court ordered adequate medical facilities to be provided to her at the district hospital, Chandauli

The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday directed that adequate medical facilities and ex-gratia payment under the scheme ‘Rani Laxmi Bai Mahila Samman Kosh’ be provided to the 15-year-old rape survivor who had approached the HC seeking permission to terminate her 28-week pregnancy.

The bench of Justices Mahesh Chandra Tripathi and Prashant Kumar noted that the medical board, which examined the victim in pursuance of the court’s order, was unanimously of the opinion that the victim was medically fit to undergo any operation and since the foetus was of 30 weeks’ gestational age as per USG report, there was a possibility of live birth.

The medical board had further opined that in view of the prematurity of the foetus, neonate (born foetus) may or may not survive.

When the medical board’s opinion was apprised to the victim’s father, he filed an affidavit, stating that till the birth and thereafter he was ready to keep and look after the baby until the adoption.

However, he requested that expenditure of medical facility, maintenance of the newborn till adoption and other facilities, which are required for the baby be provided to him by the state.

Therefore, considering the poor financial condition of the victim and her family members, the division bench ordered adequate medical facilities to be provided to the victim at the District Hospital, Chandauli, and if required at Sir Sunderlal Hospital, BHU.

The matter will be next heard on October 9.

The court was dealing with a plea moved by the rape survivor seeking direction to the respondents to terminate her unwanted pregnancy and bear the expenses of such procedure.

An FIR was lodged by the petitioner’s father on August 18, 2023, under Section 363 of IPC to which, during the investigation, the Investigating Officer had added Sections 366, 376 of IPC and Section 7/8 of the POCSO Act.

Thereafter, a plea for termination of the pregnancy of the petitioner was moved by the father on August 30, 2023 before the Chief Medical Officer, Chandauli, and a medical examination of the petitioner was conducted on August 31 wherein it was found that she was 29 weeks’ pregnant.

Since the period of pregnancy was beyond 24 weeks, the permission of the court was needed for the termination.

While hearing the matter on September 4, the same division bench had observed that “in case of sexual assault, denying a woman the right to say no to medical termination of pregnancy and fasten her with responsibility of motherhood would amount to denying her human right to live with dignity”.

The bench had stressed, “…she has a right in relation to her body which includes saying yes or no to being a mother. Section 3(2) of the MTP Act reiterates that right of a woman. To force the victim to give birth to the child of a man who sexually assaulted would result in unexplainable miseries”.

Accordingly, while considering the urgency in the matter and taking humanitarian view, the court had requested the Medical Superintendent of “Sir Sunder Lal Hospital, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi” to constitute a Five-Members Team to examine the petitioner and submit a report.

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