New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to allow a 10-year-old rape victim, who is 32 weeks pregnant, to undergo an abortion due to grave risk to her life.
A division bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud turned down the plea after the report of a medical board, set up by Chandigarh’s Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) on the court’s orders to examine the pregnant child, warned that an abortion would risk the girl’s life.
Taking the report into consideration, the bench said: “Pregnancy is 32 weeks old. It’s a grave risk for 10-year-old girl. It’s not an early pregnancy.
“In view of the recommendation made by medical board, we are satisfied it would nor be in the interest of girl and neither to foetus who is 32 weeks old. We decline to terminate pregnancy.”
The court had ordered a medical board be set up to examine the girl and ascertain the extent of risk to her life if the court was to allow an abortion.
The order came on a PIL by advocate Alok Srivastava who moved the top court after a plea for the medical termination of pregnancy was refused by a district court in Chandigarh on July 18.
Srivastata moved the Supreme Court after the appeal to abort the then 26-week foetus was rejected by a lower court, despite warnings that the child’s body was not ready for childbirth.
The girl’s pregnancy was only discovered recently after her parents took her to hospital when she complained of stomach pain. They discovered that the girl had been repeatedly raped by her uncle over seven months.
The apex court refusing to give permission for abortion due to risk to her life said that “girl child should be given due medical care”.
It also said that it would be open to doctors to evaluate the best operating mode in deciding the delivery of baby.
Srivastava’s plea has also sought framing of guidelines for setting up of medical boards in every district for an expeditious examination of cases necessitating abortions in incidents of child rape victims.
Noting that a lots of similar cases are coming before this court, the bench asked the Central government to have permanent medical board in states so that in first step, the child can be taken there.
The petitioner has also sought amendment of Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, which prohibits termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks.
The top court had on July 3 allowed a Kolkata woman who was 26 weeks pregnant to abort the foetus suffering from serious abnormalities following a report from the city’s premier SSKM Hospital.