Respond to plea seeking formulation of policy on termination of pregnancy in minor rape victims: HC to Govt

Respond to plea seeking formulation of policy on termination of pregnancy in minor rape victims: HC to Govt
File photo of J&K High CourtMubashir Khan/ GK

Srinagar: The High Court Wednesday issued a notice to the government for its response on a plea seeking formulation of a policy for handling and dealing cases regarding termination of pregnancy in minor rape victims without delay.

Hearing a 14-year-old minor girl’s plea through her father seeking directions to the officials through court intervention to medically terminate her 12-week pregnancy, a bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar directed the authorities concerned to get the minor immediately examined by the Board of Doctors constituted in this regard on December 15.

The court asked the authorities to decide on the termination of unwanted pregnancy of the minor girl having regard to the opinion of the board forthwith.

“This is a petition by an unfortunate minor girl aged 14 years through her father seeking the intervention of the court to direct the respondents (officials) to medically terminate her pregnancy which as per the petitioner is only 12-weeks-old,” Justice Sanjeev Kumar said.

The direction came after the counsel Lone Altaf representing the victim informed the court that the medical board was constituted.

According to the petition, the minor girl was subjected to rape by the accused and the matter, however, came to light only when the pregnancy of the girl was detected on medical examination.

Accordingly, a case (FIR No 219 of 2021) was registered at the concerned police station on November 23 this year under Sections 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 3/4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Abuses Act (POCSO).

“Since the pregnancy of the minor girl is unwanted, and, therefore, Child Welfare Committee, Ganderbal, referred the matter to the Chief Medical Officer, for doing the needful,” the court said. “It is the grievance of the father of the minor girl that despite the matter having been referred to the Chief Medical Officer on December 13, 2021, the minor girl has not been medically examined and no decision concerning the medical termination of her pregnancy has been taken.”

The court said that the counsel for the petitioner informed that the medical board for the purpose had been constituted and he also raised certain other issues which have wider ramifications in such like matters.

Issuing notice on the plea, the court sought a response to it within four weeks.

“In the meantime, respondent No 3 (Chief Medical Officer, concerned) should get the minor girl examined by the Board of Doctors stated to have been constituted on December 15, 2021, immediately and forthwith and take a decision about the termination of unwanted pregnancy of the minor girl having regard to the opinion of the board,” the court said.

It said that a report in this regard should be submitted to the court by the next hearing.

The petition is seeking direction to the government through Commissioner Secretary Health and Medical Education Department for formulating a policy for handling and dealing with such cases without any delay and notifying a practitioner in each district hospital to avoid unnecessary delay.

It also seeks issuance of the guidelines by the court concerning medical care and protection of the mother and rape victim and the babies born out of such incidents.

The petition also seeks compensation to such victims and babies born out of such rape incidents.

Greater Kashmir
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