The Punjab and Haryana High Court has allowed a minor rape victim teen to terminate her twenty-six weeks pregnancy.

Justice Vinod S. Bhardwaj observed –

"The child, if born, is not a reminder of good memories, but shall be a reminder of trauma and agony she had to undergo. As an unwanted child, the member is also likely to either live a tormenting life filled up with taunts to his origin or only to be given away."

In this case, a direction was sought to the State directing them to terminate the pregnancy of the rape victim under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.

The petition was filed through the natural guardian of the victim i.e., her father. The Petitioner contended that she was subjected to rape as a result of which she got pregnant. An FIR was registered under Sections 363, 366-A, 376, 450, and 34 of the IPC and Sections 4 and 17 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences, Act, 2012.

It was contended before the Court that the Petitioner is a minor and continuation of the pregnancy will cause great physical and psychological trauma to the minor and further contended that she is dependent for her own self is not in a situation to take care of the child in case she is supposed to give birth.

The Court placed reliance on the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of "X versus Union of India" reported as (2020) 19 SCC 806, wherein the Court had allowed the termination of pregnancy of a 13-year-old rape victim.

The Bench further noted that the victim is a minor even as of the date and is dependent on her family. She is yet to complete her education and pursue her goals in life. It can also not be lost sight of the fact that the pregnancy is an outcome of violation of the minor. It is a testimony to her bruised body and soul.

The Court in this context, further observed-

"As an unwanted child, the member is also likely to either live a tormenting life filled up with taunts to his origin or only to be given away. In either of the said situation, the mother as well as the child suffer social stigma and incarceration for rest of their lives. The same is not in the best interest of either the mother and her family already having expressed their unwillingness to bring up the child, it may not even be advancing the cause of the unborn, who will grapple to come to terms with life and be subjected to maltreatment for no fault. Such decision are tough, however life is not just about being able to breathe-it is about being able to live with dignity. Where the denial of dignity and social as well as family acceptance or approval is a writing on the wall, it compounds agony of the child and lead to greater injustice. Balance thus needs to be drawn to examine the over all well being. Whether to shape the trauma of a victim or to prolong it by delivery of the child, who is to be only victimized."

The Court held the choices thus reduce and it seems more prudent to allow the termination of the pregnancy.

Accordingly, the Court directed the termination of the pregnancy and allowed the petition.

Cause Title – Mrs. X v. State of Haryana and Others

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