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Bombay HC: Mentally Challenged Rape Victim Plea To Terminate 35-Week Pregnancy Refused

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Bombay High court Law Insider

Shashwati Chowdhury

Published on: August 6, 2022 at 20:49 IST

The Bombay High Court rejected a mentally challenged rape victim’s plea to abort her 35-week (8.5-month) pregnancy after a board of healthcare experts opined there was a significant risk to the mother’s health.

The report of the Expert Committee would serve as the court’s guide, according to a division Bench of Justices Gangapurwala and AS Doctor, but since the pregnancy was the result of rape, specific directions were required:

First, the DNA samples soon after birth and, the investigator should be present when the baby is delivered.

Second, the State should care for the child in accordance with the guidelines set forth by a 2019 historic judgement on medical termination of pregnancy if the child is born alive.

On July 26, 2022, the petitioner appeared before the court pursuant to Section 3(2)(b) of the MTP, and the Court heard the case the following day, for hearing.

Yogesh Birajdar, the petitioner’s counsel, submitted that the woman had been raped and that because of her health issues, the family only found out about the pregnancy much later. He stated that the offender was booked at the Indapur Police Station under Sections 376, 504 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

The expert committee at Sasoon General Hospital in Pune was then instructed by the court to examine the victim and provide a report by August 29.

Following the victim’s examination, the committee submitted a report via AGP MP Thakur. They concluded that the woman has a moderate intellectual disability after conducting a psychiatric evaluation.

Her physical evaluation shows that the necessity for operative interventions may be required if the pregnancy is terminated at this advanced gestational age and would be risky.

“The foetus is very much salvageable due to absence of gross foetal anomalies as per sonography…On clinical and sonographic examination of mother, due to advanced gestational age, medical termination of pregnancy is not recommended with kind permission of Hon’ble High Court, the committee opined.

The Court said “This Court would be guided by the report of the Expert Committee.”