The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the administration of the Chandigarh Union Territory to set up a fund for the 10-year-old who gave birth to a baby in the city on August 17 after her abortion plea was denied in July. The bench asked the government to release Rs 1 lakh for immediate assistance and park the remaining Rs 9 lakh in a fixed deposit for future use, The Indian Express reported.
The 10-year-old got pregnant after her uncle raped her multiple times. On July 28, a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud had denied her permission to abort her foetus at 27 weeks, after a board of doctors at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh had said that an abortion would pose a risk to the girl’s life.
‘Minors should be allowed to undergo abortions’
The top court on Friday held that minors who get pregnant as a result of rape should not have to approach courts for permission to get an abortion. Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta observed that court proceedings wasted time and it became too risky to allow abortions at a later stage, The Times of India reported.
The bench agreed with amicus curiae Indira Jaising, who argued that childbirth was life threatening for minors and doctors were obligated to allow abortions in such cases. “The provisions of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act are not properly understood by doctors,” she said. “They are afraid to help the victims in abortion fearing criminal prosecution under Section 312 of Indian Penal Code.”
The 10-year-old had to approach the Supreme Court after a Chandigarh district court, on July 18, had refused to allow her to abort her six-month-old foetus on the grounds that it would put her health and life at risk.
Indian law allows abortion of foetuses up to 20 weeks old, but courts can make exceptions in case abnormalities are detected.