Punjab and Haryana High Court directs Medical Termination of Pregnancy of minor rape victim

Punjab and Haryana High Court: While deciding the writ petition, a bench of Vinod S. Bhardwaj, J., directed the Medical Board to terminate more than 24 weeks old pregnancy of minor rape victim.

Background

In the case at hand, the petitioner was subjected to rape as a result of which she got pregnant. The petitioner submits that she is a minor and continuation of the pregnancy will cause a great physical and psychological trauma to her. She further contends that she being dependent for her needs and is not in a situation to take care of the child . Since the pregnancy is more than 24 weeks old, the petitioner is bound to approach a Court to seek termination of the pregnancy in accordance with Section 3 of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP Act).

The Court placed reliance on X v. Union of India, (2020) 19 SCC 806 and said that it is not in dispute that the victim is a minor and is dependent on her family. She is yet to complete her education and pursue her goals in life. It can also not be lost sight of the fact that the pregnancy is an outcome of violation of the minor. It is a testimony to her bruised body and soul. The child, if born, is not a reminder of good memories, but shall be a reminder of trauma and agony she had to undergo.

The Court further said that the same is not in the best interest of either the mother and her family already having expressed their unwillingness to bring up the child, it may not even be advancing the cause of the unborn, who will grapple to come to terms with life and be subjected to maltreatment for no fault.

The Court further noted that,

“Life is not just about being able to breathe,it is about being able to live with dignity. Where the denial of dignity and social as well as family acceptance or approval is a writing on the wall, it compounds agony of the child and leads to greater injustice. Balance thus needs to be drawn to examine the overall well-being. Whether to shape the trauma of a victim or to prolong it by delivery of the child, who is to be only victimized. The choices thus reduce, and it seems more prudent to allow the termination of pregnancy”

Hence, the Court directed the Medical Board of the Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Govt. Medical College & Hospital, Mewat to take all appropriate and necessary steps and carry out the medical termination of the pregnancy in accordance with the law.

The Court further directed that petitioner would be at liberty to espouse her financial status before the authorities concerned and be entitled to the benefit under the prevalent schemes in accordance with the rules.

[X v. State of Haryana, 2022 SCC OnLine P&H 3441, decided on 21-11-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Rosi, Advocate, Counsel for the Petitioner;

Vivek Chauhan, Advocate, Counsel for the Respondent.

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