News Brief

Bombay High Court allows termination of 24-week pregnancy for 13-year-old who was raped

The medical board of JJ Hospital had said that the pregnancy would endanger her life.

The Bombay High Court on Monday allowed a 13-year-old girl to terminate the 24-week foetus, PTI reported. The minor got pregnant after a man raped her last year.

The court directed her to go to a state-run hospital in the city for the procedure after the JJ Hospital’s medical board said that the pregnancy would endanger her life. The bench also asked the Maharashtra government to provide any guidelines on handling cases of this nature, if any existed.

A 23-year-old man had kidnapped the girl in July 2017 from her house in Thane district’s Ulhasnagar town. The police traced the girl and the accused in Uttar Pradesh. The man was arrested and the girl was brought back home on March 17.

The High Court passed the order while hearing a petition filed by her father. The pregnancy had crossed the 20-week gestation period, which is considered legally permissible according to the Medical Termination of Pregnancies Act. Last week, the High Court had asked JJ Hospital’s medical board to examine the girl and submit the report.

Justice NH Patil said the pregnancy could have been terminated within the permissible time limit if the police had reported it. “In the present case, the victim was taken for medical examination on March 17 this year and the police came to know that she was pregnant,” Patil said. “The police should be sensitised. When such cases are filed, the police should inform the victim, her parents or family about the options they have regarding termination of pregnancy.”

The court ruled that in case there were no guidelines on how to handle such cases, it would order the state government to issue them.

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