Madhya Pradesh High Court

Madhya Pradesh High Court: While deciding whether the petition for medical termination of pregnancy was filed to eliminate an unwanted child or if there was a genuine intent to prosecute the accused, a single-judge bench comprising G.S. Ahluwalia, J., dismissed the petition for medical termination of pregnancy, underscoring the court’s role in preventing the misuse of its authority and ensuring that justice is not subverted for personal motives.

In the instant matter, the petitioner, who is the mother of the prosecutrix (victim), sought permission for the medical termination of her daughter’s pregnancy, who is 16 weeks and 3 days pregnant. The pregnancy was the result of an alleged sexual offense committed by the accused, the petitioner’s son-in-law. The accused had allegedly taken the prosecutrix away despite being married to her elder sister.

The Court being cautious of its authority being misused to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, especially since there was a history of similar misuse as noted in “Suo Moto in the Matter of the State of M.P. v. Father of Prosecutrix ‘A’, Contempt Petition No. 415/2022, order dated 02-11-2022 and a Division Bench of this Court in Contempt Appeal No.05/2022, order dated 14-03-2024”, directed the petitioner and her husband to file an affidavit affirming their genuine interest in prosecuting the accused and not using the petition as a means to get rid of an unwanted child. However, the Court noted that the petitioner admitted in court that she and the prosecutrix would not support the prosecution case and would endeavor to save the accused, indicating an intent to manipulate the judicial process.

The Court emphasised that Courts cannot be used as a tool for terminating a pregnancy under false pretenses, especially when the true intent behind the petition is to evade legal consequences for the accused. The Court stated that despite potential adverse effects on the mental status of the girl due to the unwanted pregnancy, the Court cannot allow its authority to be used for such purposes. The Court opined that “nobody can be allowed to play the game of hide and seek for committing murder of an unborn child.”

Given the admissions and the potential misuse of judicial authority, the Court dismissed the petition, prioritising the prevention of potential misuse over the adverse mental effect on the prosecutrix.

[XYZ v. State of M.P., 2024 SCC OnLine MP 3312, order dated 23-04-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case:

Shri M.R. Verma, Counsel for the Petitioners

Shri Mohan Sausarkar, Government Advocate, Counsel for the Respondents

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