Supreme Court declines plea to terminate 10-year-old rape survivour’s pregnancy

New Delhi, July 28: The Supreme Court had declined the plea to terminate the pregnancy of a 10-year-old rape survivor, today. The Court has pronounced its judgement based on the recommendations of the medical board which opposed a medical termination of pregnancy at the 32nd week of it, as it could jeopardise her health state.

A bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud asked the member secretary of Chandigarh Legal Services Authority to assist it as an amicus curiae and get the minor examined by a board of doctors on 26 July. The bench said the medical board will have to check if the termination of the pregnancy could put the girl’s life in danger.

The Court has also asked the member secretary to assure that the girl and one of her parents are given proper transportation facility for her examination at PGI, Chandigarh. The court has now fixed the matter for hearing on 28 July and said the medical report be filed in a sealed cover before it and asked the counsel for the victim to provide her address to the member secretary instantly.

The PIL was filed after a Chandigarh district court on 18 July refused to let the girl undergo the abortion after it was confirmed that she was 26-weeks-pregnant. Courts allow medical termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and can make an exception if the foetus is genetically abnormal.

The petition, filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, has also sought appropriate guidelines be framed by the top court to set up a permanent medical board in each district of India for expedient termination of pregnancies in exceptional cases involving minor victims of rape under the best possible medical facilities.

“Medical experts have categorically opined that if the 10-year-old rape survivor is forced to give birth through normal delivery or C-section, it may be fatal to the life of the girl as well her child,” the petition filed through advocate Kedar Nath Tripathy had said.

The petition had also sought direction to the Centre to amend Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, so as to permit termination of pregnancies of more than 20 weeks, particularly involving minor victims of rape after obtaining a requisite opinion from a permanently constituted medical board.