The Allahabad High Court on Friday allowed a minor rape victim to terminate a pregnancy of 20 weeks after due consultation with the Medical Board constituted by the Vice-Chancellor of King Georges Medical University, Lucknow (KGMU).
A Division bench comprising Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh was adjudicating upon a writ petition filed by the father of the minor seeking the Court’s leave to have the pregnancy aborted by the Chief Medical Officer, Hardoi.
In the instant case, the minor victim had been allegedly raped by the accused named Sarvesh and thereafter her menstruation cycle had stopped. On examination she was found to be pregnant. Consequently, an FIR had been lodged against the accused and the statement of the victim had been recorded by the Investigating Officer as per the provisions of Section 164 Cr.P.C.
The Court vide order dated July 9, 2021 had directed the Vice-Chancellor of KGMU, Lucknow to constitute a Medical Board to conduct a medical examination of the minor victim and submit a report opining on the feasibility of termination of pregnancy of the victim. Thereafter on July 15, 2021 the medical report was submitted before the Court wherein it was opined that termination of the 20 weeks old foetus could be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021.
It is pertinent to note that pursuant to the Amendment Act of 2021 the time period within which an abortion can be legally conducted was increased up to 24 weeks. Before the amendment, the Act required one doctor’s opinion if the abortion was done within 12 weeks of conception and two doctors’ opinions if it was done between 12 and 20 weeks. The amendment has now allowed abortion to be conducted within 20 weeks on one doctor’s advice and between 20 and 24 weeks on two doctors’ advice for specific categories of women, including victims of rape (excluding marital rape). Further, States and Union territories were also directed to set up medical boards to decide if pregnancy can be terminated after 24 weeks in cases of substantial fetal abnormalities.
The minor victim and her father were both called upon by the Court and their consent was obtained in order to get the pregnancy terminated. Accordingly, the Court issued directions observing,
“Considering the medical report dated 15.07.2021 placed before the Court by Mr. Subham Tripathi, learned counsel for King Georges Medical University, we allow termination of pregnancy of the victim, which shall be done at an authorized medical hospital at the earliest, say, within a period of one week.”
Accordingly, the petition was disposed of after taking into account factors such as the age of the victim, her unmarried status and the alleged commission of rape.