Uttarakhand High Court allows Rape victim to terminate her Pregnancy

pregnancy foetus rape Abortion Law Insider

Nishka Srinivas Veluvali

Publidhed On: February 07, 2022 at 16:43 IST

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Alok Kumar Verma permitted the Rape Victim for the termination of a 28 weeks foetus.

The Uttarakhand High Court ruled that,

“There is right to terminate pregnancy on ground of rape. A rape victim has a right to make a choice to carry. She has also right not to carry pregnancy subject to the conditions as enumerated under the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act”.

The Petitioner aged 16 years is a Rape victim. The First Information Report (FIR) was filed on 12 January, 2022 at the Revenue Police Station as per the Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

The Petitioner underwent the medical examination where it was confirmed that she had a Single Live Intrauterine Foetus that was of 27 weeks 4 days (+) 15 days old.

The mentioned medical report concluded that observing the risk to the mother and foetal visibility, it is not advisable to terminate the pregnancy at the gestational age.

The Medical Board opined that the termination of the pregnancy would pose a threat to the life of the Petitioner. They also stated that at this phase of pregnancy, the child will be born with several abnormalities.

However, the Counsel of the Petitioner referring to some Landmark Judgements of the Honourable Supreme Court stated that the medical procedure can be aborted instantly, if any threat or risk appeared to the life of the Petitioner.

The Additional Chief Standing Counsel representing the State did not argue against the submissions made by the Counsel of the Petitioner.

The Court also noted that the minor Petitioner was in no position to continue the pregnancy and if the Petitioner did so then it would have a consequence on her physical as well as mental health.

The Court thus observed that the Right to life not only includes survival but also right to live with human dignity.

The Court reiterated the Supreme Court’s statement that,

“A woman’s right to make a reproductive choice is also the dimension of the personal liberty guaranteed by the Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.”

The Court Ordered that, “In these circumstances, if the Petitioner is compelled to continue with her pregnancy, it would infringe her right to live with human dignity, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Therefore, in the present facts and circumstances, this Court considers it appropriate in the interest of justice to permit the petitioner to undergo the medical termination of her pregnancy”.

However, the Court directed the senior most Gynaecologist under the guidance of the Medical Board to conduct the medical termination of the Petitioner but abort the procedure the moment they sense any risk to the life of the Petitioner.

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