Should 24-week pregnant 14-year-old rape victim undergo abortion? SC refers plea to doctors' panel

The Supreme Court, which deals with a number of sensitive cases, found itself in a Catch-22 situation when the father of a 24-week pregnant 14-year-old rape victim filed a petition seeking permission for his daughter to undergo abortion.

Last Updated: Jul 29, 2015, 09:53 AM IST
Should 24-week pregnant 14-year-old rape victim undergo abortion? SC refers plea to doctors' panel

New Delhi: The Supreme Court, which deals with a number of sensitive cases, found itself in a Catch-22 situation when the father of a 24-week pregnant 14-year-old rape victim filed a petition seeking permission for his daughter to undergo abortion.

In the first instance the apex court bench of Justices AR Dave and Kurian Joseph said it would not like to do something which is contrary to law.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act says a woman can undergo abortion within 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, in this case the 14-year-old Gujarat based girl is 24-week pregnant.

However, while hearing the petition on Tuesday the SC came to the rescue of the victim by ordering that the requisite surgery may be done if the gynaecologists and clinical psychologists permit it.

The apex court order came on a petition by the girl's father -- who challenged the Gujarat High Court's July 23 order by which it refused to grant permission for abortion, holding that the foetus was already 24 weeks old and the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 did not permit it at this stage.

The bench, after hearing Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for the minor victim, said it would direct the authorities at the Civil Hospital at Ahmedabad to get the girl examined by two senior-most gynaecologists and a clinical psychologist.

"If they (experts) say that she has to be operated upon then let them do it with the consent of the girl and her parents," it said.

If there is a "serious threat" to her life in case the foetus is not aborted, then the surgeons and the clinical experts can together take a decision on termination of her pregnancy, the bench said.

While issuing notice on the plea, it said that in case of abortion, a DNA test should be done on the foetus which could help in the criminal trial of rape, it said.

Earlier, the high court had expressed sympathy for the victim, noting the injury caused to her mental health, threat to her life and the hardship caused to her.

The girl was allegedly raped by a doctor to whom she had gone in February this year for treatment of typhoid. The doctor allegedly raped her after injecting sedatives.

The girl did not disclose this to her parents.

It was only after a few months when the victim did not have her periods that she informed her mother and uncle about the incident. In June, her family took her to a doctor who declared her pregnant.