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Monday, May 20, 2024

SC directs ending 30-week pregnancy of 14-year-old rape survivor

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 The Supreme Court on Monday directed immediate termination of a 30-week pregnancy of a 14-year-old rape survivor, saying every hour was crucial for her.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala ordered Sion Hospital in Mumbai to constitute a team to conduct the medical termination of the pregnancy.

The bench ordered the hospital to ensure that the minor was safely taken to the medical facility and that the Maharashtra government has agreed to bear the expenses of the procedure.

On April 19, in a special late evening hearing, the Supreme Court bench of CJI Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala ordered an immediate medical examination of the teen survivor who had sought to terminate her 28-week pregnancy.

Earlier on April 4, the Bombay High Court declined the request for the termination of the pregnancy. Immediately the girl’s mother rushed to the Supreme Court.

The SC bench directed Sion Hospital to immediately determine whether continuing the pregnancy could endanger the physical or mental health of the girl or the foetus.

The Bench directed the hospital to submit the health conditions of the 14-year-old and what effect it will have if the pregnancy is terminated.

The court directed the hospital to report back by Monday (April 22) before the court.

Today, after going through the report that was submitted by the hospital, the court was directed to go ahead with the immediate termination of the 30-week pregnancy.

“These are very, very exceptional cases where we have to protect the children…every passing hour is very crucial for her,” the bench said while directing the hospital for the safe abortion of the minor.

Additional solicitor-general Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, urged the bench to invoke its extraordinary powers under Article 142 to do complete justice in the case. Bhati, while citing the medical report, said continuing the pregnancy may impact the minor’s well-being.

The Supreme Court set aside the Bombay High Court order, which had declined the termination of pregnancy, and directed the panel of doctors at Sion’s Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital in Mumbai to carry out the termination of pregnancy.

The court said, “Bearing in mind the exigency of the situation and well-being of the minor, specifying her age and the alleged sexual assault, we exercise our power under Article 142 to order immediate termination of the pregnancy of the minor.’

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