New Delhi: A 16-year-old rape victim has knocked the doors of the Delhi High Court seeking permission to terminate her 22-week “unwanted” pregnancy.
The court has said the minor needed to be medically evaluated, both physically and psychologically.
According to the minor’s plea, she was lured into a sexual relationship by a married man for a year, after which she became pregnant.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru after interacting with the minor girl, who insisted that the pregnancy be terminated, said she appeared to be in considerable distress.
It directed the medical superintendent of a government hospital here to constitute a medical board, comprising a gynaecologist and a psychiatrist, to evaluate and give an opinion on medical termination of pregnancy.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits the abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy. An exception to the law is made if a registered medical practitioner certifies to a court that the continued pregnancy is life-threatening for either the mother or the baby.
The court, in its order passed on November 28, asked the girl to appear before the board on November 30 and directed the board to submit its report thereafter.
The victim’s counsel relied upon the Supreme Court’s orders in which the court, after examining the medical reports, had permitted the termination of pregnancy even after a period of 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The girl, in the petition filed through her father, said she was a victim of rape as the 20-year-old man lured her into sexual relations by telling her that he was a divorcee and “they were akin to husband and wife”.
This resulted in her conceiving an unwanted pregnancy, the plea said.
The Indian Penal Code says the sexual relationship with a girl below 16 years of age is punishable for the offence of rape irrespective of her consent.
An FIR was lodged on November 3 for the alleged offence of rape under the IPC and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
“The minor is a victim of rape who has undergone and is continuing to suffer from deep trauma and anguish both as a result of the rape and the consequent pregnancy and is in no fit mental or physical state to bear a pregnancy to term. The lifelong effect on her as a consequence of such forced pregnancy will be grave and irreversible,” the plea said.