Delhi HC permits 16-year-old rape victim to terminate her pregnancy

The Delhi High Court Monday allowed a 16-year-old victim of rape to medically terminate her 26 weeks old pregnancy.

It asked the Medical Board of the doctors at AIIMS to carry out the exercise expeditiously.

The Court, however, left it at the discretion of the Board to cancel the procedure if they found that during the operation, there was any risk to the life of the girl.

It also directed the Medical Board to preserve the terminus foetus for the purpose of DNA Testing with reference to Zero FIR dated January 9 which was registered at Police Station Mehrauli (South) under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 read with Section 6 of the POCSO Act, 2012.

A single-judge bench presided by Justice Anu Malhotra passed this order after considering the medical report pursuant to a court order which inter-alia opined that on psychiatric evaluation the continuation of the pregnancy would lead to considerable mental trauma to the patient.

The report which was received from Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital stated that if the patient and the guardian were willing to take the high risks mentioned in the said report, they could opt for the termination of the pregnancy.

Justice Malhotra also interacted with the minor and her parents in-camera, who also said that they wanted the termination of the pregnancy submitting to the effect that they would be unable to bear the birth of the child if any. The minor had also stated that the birth of the child would ruin her future.

Citing the Supreme Court’s decision in K.S. Puttuswamy V. Union of India, advocate Vrinda Grover, for the petitioner, submitted that it is the woman’s freedom of choice whether to bear a child or to abort her pregnancy which falls thus within the realm of privacy.

The Court was hearing a plea filed by the mother of the minor seeking a direction to permit the medical termination of her pregnancy, the continuation of which, the mother said, was posing a threat to her physically, psychologically and emotionally.