Uttaranchal High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Sanjay Kumar Mishra, J. allowed a 13-year-old rape victim to undergo termination of over 25 weeks of pregnancy and held that if any risk or danger to the life of the victim girl was found during the medical procedure, then the Medical Board had a discretion to cancel the procedure for medical termination of pregnancy.
The present case was filed through the victim’s father and natural guardian and the victim’s father had consented for medical termination of unwanted pregnancy as a panel of doctors constituted by this Court had stated that since termination of pregnancy at any stage entails various medical surgical complication including risk of operative delivery and anesthetic complications and ICU admission and danger of life, it could be attempted with complete informed consent.
Analysis, Law, and Decision
The Court noted that the victim had pregnancy of 25 weeks and 4 days but, Section 3(2) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 provided for termination of pregnancy where the length of pregnancy was between 12 weeks to 24 weeks.
The Court held that it should allow the Medical Board to proceed with the medical termination of the victim if there was no danger to the life of the victim and during the medical procedure, if any risk or danger to the life of the victim girl was found, then the Medical Board had a discretion to cancel the procedure for medical termination of pregnancy.
The Court opined that “the reasons which persuaded this Court to pass the order of termination of pregnancy were conception by the victim was a result of offence of rape committed upon her by her close relative. The victim was a minor and had to undergo the ignominy of an undesirable pregnancy. It would hamper her further physical and mental growth. It will also affect her future education prospects. The social stigma the victim would face would be insurmountable in the present case, as the victim’s father and his daughter belong to very humble walks of life. The social stigma the unborn child would face was also a matter of great concern to us as the child wouldbe viewed with disdain and would be looked down upon as an undesirable child by his / her peers in society”.
The Court directed the Medical Board to proceed with termination of pregnancy as expeditiously as possible without any further delay and the Medical Board was directed to obtain declaration from the victim’s father that he had consented to terminate his daughter’s pregnancy.
The matter was next listed for 9-12-2022.
[X v. State of Uttarakhand, 2022 SCC OnLine Utt 1584, decided on 6-12-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Petitioner: Advocate Snigdha Tiwari;
Advocate Abhijay Negi;
Advocate Abhishek Rana;
For the Respondent(s): Standing Counsel Suyash Pant;
Deputy Advocate General J.S. Virk.