The Kerala High Court has permitted termination of 24 week-long pregnancy of a rape survivor (14 years). Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Shaji P Chaly stated unitedly that it is a disheartening and difficult situation. They passed this order in an urgent hearing held through a video-conferencing. This was based on the recommendation of the Medical Board that the continuation of the pregnancy. As the continuation imposed high risk to the mental and physical health of the adolescent female. The court stated that the right to make reproductive choices is a facet of life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Indin Constitution. The said choice would decide whether or not the survivor should carry her pregnancy or not. This right is subjective to the restrictions imposed under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. Also, she should have the consent and permission of her guardians.
This order was passed in the light of the writ petition filed by the survivor's father. The girl had gone missing and a habeas corpus petition was filed to find the girl. She was found with a 28-year married man after 5 months. The man was booked under the offences under IPC and POCSO and booked for the same. As the pregnancy had advanced the fixed period of statutory permissibility for legal abortion. Looking into the urgency of the issue the Medical Board within a day to take notice and report. As the pregnancy would risk the health of the minor girl. Due to the fact, there should be a risk of all obstetric complications and obstetric haemorrhage if the pregnancy of the minor is continued. The Board also stated that it would affect the mental health and emotional traits of the minor. Section 5 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 states that the maximum period of 20 weeks. Section 3 of the same Act states the legal permissibility of pregnancy termination.
The court also stated that while doing the termination process. The doctors should preserve the tissue of the foetus for DNA identification. This was for the future purpose as a criminal case is pending against rapist. It was also looked into by the court that if the child is born despite the efforts of medical termination. The doctors will ensure that it is under law and order of the country. And the child born is in healthy condition. Such judgements which are a survivor pro help in reaffirming the faith of the common citizens in the justice system of the country.
Tags : #Article 21 #Right to make reproductive choice