In a first, J&K High Court allows minor rape victim to terminate pregnancy
Srinagar: For the first time, Jammu and Kashmir High Court has allowed a rape victim from Doda district to terminate her pregnancy.
A 17-year-old girl), who was 26 weeks pregnant, needed the court’s assent for aborting her fetus.
A single-judge bench of Justice Javaid Iqbal Wani allowed termination of pregnancy after a panel of doctors submitted a medical report.
The pregnancy, according to sources, was terminated at Shri Maharaja Gulab Singh hospital, Jammu on July 11.
The girl had alleged that she was abducted and raped by Ashok Kumar on December 12 last year. After a missing report was filed, she was traced and handed over to her family on April 25.
Though the alleged rapist was arrested, police didn’t include offenses punishable under rape and POSCO Act. The case was registered on December 25, 2019, at Gandoh police station.
She was found pregnant by 21 weeks on May 6. The rape victim through her father moved a petition before the J&K High Court seeking permission for termination of the pregnancy and preserving the DNA samples of the fetus as evidence.
The court sought a medical opinion from health experts as to whether termination of pregnancy of the victim would be medically feasible. The expert team comprised two gynecologists, a radiologist, and a forensic expert. The report was submitted on June 29.:“After a thorough clinical examination, USG, radiological examination and lab interrogation the board of doctors believes that she is carrying 24 weeks 2 days of pregnancy, termination of which is not allowed under Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. However, she can undergo termination of pregnancy after correction of anemia” said the medical report.
On June 30, the court directed the examination of the victim by a psychologist. A report of examination of the victim by a psychologist at Government Medical College Jammu opined that she does not have any active psychopathologies and her mental status was normal.
“Pregnancy has been caused by the alleged rape, which constitutes a grave injury to the mental health of the victim and that the rider and restraint of 24 weeks is relaxed under the provision of section 5 of the MTP Act, 1971,” said Irfan Khan, counsel for the victim.
The court said the victim should be provided appropriate free medical facilities in the event of the termination of pregnancy. (KDC)