The Delhi High Court has yesterday allowed the termination of around 24-week pregnancy of a 13-year-old rape victim.

A Single Bench of Justice Jasmeet Singh directed, “In this view of the matter and in view of the findings of the Medical Board, it is directed that the termination of pregnancy of the child victim be effected as soon as possible by the doctors at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital. … The medical team shall ensure that the best possible care is given to the pregnant child victim including post operative care so that she recovers completely and only then is discharged. The medical team and the hospital shall also ensure that the victim and the mother are counselled at every stage and are made aware of the risks involved.”

The Bench noted that the medical board has opined that continuation of pregnancy in such a case carries a higher risk to both, the mother and the foetus.

Advocate U.S. Gautam appeared for the petitioner while ASC Sanjeev Bhandari and Advocate Kunal Mittal appeared for the respondents.

In this case, a plea seeking termination of pregnancy through registered medical practitioners of the minor victim aged about 13 years was filed by the minor victim through her father. As per the status report, the victim aged 13 years came to her Nani’s house in Delhi in January 2023 wherein she was raped by a person who was a tenant in the same locality and thereafter, the victim came to her native place at Bhopal.

The victim felt unwell and hence her parents took her to a hospital where it was found that she is pregnant as a result of which a zero FIR was registered and her medical examination was conducted wherein, she was found to be 24 to 26 weeks pregnant. When the matter came up for hearing, the court directed the Medical Board comprising of minimum two doctors to review the case of the victim after which it opined that continuation of the pregnancy had a higher risk.

The High Court in view of the above facts observed, “In the event that the foetus is born alive, considering the age of foetus it would be given adequate care in the nursery of GTB Hospital in their NICU ward. In case such facility is not available, the hospital shall ensure that the foetus is transferred to an appropriate facility and advance arrangement in that regard shall be made including transportation. This shall be under the care of the Medical Superintendent of the concerned hospital.”

The Court also directed that one lady police officer shall be stationed along with the mother and the victim from the point of admission to the hospital till the time of discharge.

“In any other situation, it is directed that the hospital shall preserve the terminal foetus for the purpose of DNA testing which would be required with reference to the criminal case which has been registered. The preservation of the terminal foetus and DNA that may be drawn shall be in accordance with orders that may be passed by the competent criminal court”, further directed the Court.

The Court concluded that its directions shall be complied with on an immediate basis and irrespective of any holiday/government holiday at the hospital. It also said that all expenses regarding the process shall be borne by the State including medicines, food, hospitalisation, transportation, etc. and a complete record of the procedure performed for the termination of pregnancy shall be maintained by the medical team.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the plea.

Cause Title- Minor Victim-V v. The State & Anr.

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