Bombay HC quashes father's plea for abortion

Terminating pregnancy in the 26th week could pose a danger to her life.

Mumbai: The father of a minor girl, who had approached the Bombay high court seeking termination of his daughter’s pregnancy, withdrew his plea on Wednesday after the court indicated that it is not inclined to allow his application since the girl is already facing health issues. Terminating pregnancy in the 26th week could pose a danger to her life.

The case dates back to August 22, 2016 when the petitioner’s 17-year-old daughter, who was studying in junior college, did not return home. After searching for her, the father lodged a missing complaint with the Dattawadi police station in Pune. Nearly eight months later, the police nabbed the victim in Solapur, along with a boy, also a minor, who was their neighbour in Pune.

When the victim was reunited with her family, it was discovered that she was 26 week pregnant. The father then approached the high court seeking ‘justice’ for his daughter. He claimed that her ‘right to life’ had been infringed upon because she was not allowed to abort the 26-weeks foetus.

The matter came up for hearing before the division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Sarang Kotwal. The petitioner contended before the court that his daughter was not physically fit to carry the pregnancy. It was further contended that the petitioner was a poor and helpless father of a minor rape victim, who was in serious trauma because of the unwanted pregnancy, leading her to sacrifice her future life, right to privacy and good health. According to the petitioner, his daughter could not lead a life with dignity.

During the hearing, Justice More observed, “The pregnancy is in an advanced stage and we fear that if we allow termination of pregnancy, it could create health issues and may also pose a danger to the victim’s life. Hence we are not inclined to allow the petition.” Following this, the petitioner sought the court’s permission to withdraw the plea, which the court allowed.

Before disposing of the petition, the bench also granted liberty to the petitioner to move for compensation before a competent forum. The court passed this order as the victim’s father had sought a compensation of Rs 10 lakh on the grounds that the police did not act on their complaint for eight months and were only able to find the girl with the family’s help.

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