13-year-old rape victim allowed to end pregnancy

The legal limit to carry out termination of pregnancy without approaching the court is twenty weeks.

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Monday allowed the termination of the 24-week-old foetus of a 13-year-old girl, who was abducted in July last year and rescued last month. While permitting the termination of the unwanted pregnancy, the court asked the state to inform it as to whether any guidelines have been made under any act for the police to make the parents of a rape victim aware about provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. Under the MTP Act, the legal limit to carry out termination of pregnancy without approaching the court is twenty weeks.

The directions were prompted after the petitioner, the father, informed the court that he was not aware of the pregnancy when his daughter was rescued and brought back to Mumbai from Uttar Pradesh. The police did not inform him about it though they knew about it, he said. The court permitted the termination of pregnancy on the grounds that continuation would be riskier for the mother though the foetus was normal. The girl was abducted by a labourer, who took her to his hometown in UP where he raped her several times.

A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai was hearing a petition filed by the father of the girl with the help of NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan. The NGO had helped the Mumbai police trace the girl from a UP village after the father filed an FIR in July 2017. According to the petition, the minor was the victim of rape because of which she had become pregnant, and the court’s permission was sought to terminate the unwanted pregnancy. The petition also prayed for directions to the state to instruct all police stations to inform parents and guardians of rape victims about the MTP Act.

During the hearing on Monday, the advocate for the petitioner informed the court that the minor girl had been interviewed by a special court on Saturday and the board of JJ Hospital doctors had also submitted its report regarding the termination of pregnancy.

After perusing the report of JJ Hospital, the court directed the girl to be present before the dean of JJ Hospital on Tuesday for making arrangements to undergo the termination procedure. The court further directed the petitioner NGO to find out whether the state had framed any guidelines under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) and Juvenile Justice Acts with regard to sexual assault victims and inform the court within two weeks.

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