HIV-positive woman, raped in Patna cannot abort the foetus says SC as risk is high
NEW DELHI,May10: The Supreme Court today said that an HIV-positive woman, who was raped on the streets of Patna and is 26 weeks pregnant, cannot abort the foetus as a medical report has suggested it would be risky for both. A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar added that the 35-year-old woman, being a rape survivor, was eligible for compensation under the provision of CrPC and directed Bihar government to pay her Rs. 3 lakh within four weeks.
The top court also asked the state government to provide her all medical facilities at Patna’s Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Science (IGIMS) as per the treatment chart which would be given to her by the doctors of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.
The bench referred to a report of AIIMS’s medical board, which had examined the woman, and said the doctors have opined that at this stage, the procedure involved in termination of pregnancy would be a risk, both to the woman and the foetus.
The report, which was placed before the court, also said that the woman has been advised antiretroviral therapy (ART) to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to the foetus.
During the hearing, advocate Vrinda Grover, representing the woman, said the survivor was entitled to compensation from Bihar government and she should be awarded separate compensation for the negligence by the authorities there, which has led to this situation.
“Needless to say, the petitioner (woman) is eligible to get compensation under the said scheme (section 357-A of CrPC) and therefore the petitioner shall be paid sum of Rs. 3 lakh (by Bihar) as she has been a victim of rape,” the bench said.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, told the bench that the government would make appropriate arrangements, so that the woman, who is presently in Delhi, be sent to back to Patna.
The top court had earlier said it would not go into the orders of the high court which had held that the medical board’s report has stated that it would be unsafe for the life of the petitioner and there was a compelling responsibility of the state to keep the child alive.
The high court had said the woman’s pregnancy had crossed the legal embargo of 20 weeks under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
The petitioner had told the top court that high court had failed to appreciate that the woman was 35 years of age and completely fit to make her own reproductive choices without any interference.
In her plea, the woman said she was a destitute and had come to know about her pregnancy for the first time around the 13th week, and that too after she was rescued by a Women’s Rehabilitation Centre, and taken a pregnancy test on January 26.