Srinagar: The High Court Thursday said it would consider the larger issue as to how the State should respond without court intervention in situations regarding the termination of pregnancy in minor rape cases after the government informs it about the steps in place in this regard.
A bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar said this while directing the authorities concerned to go ahead with the medical termination of the pregnancy of a 14-year-old minor from central Kashmir.
The direction came after the opinion rendered by the Medical Board which had been constituted in this regard.
“From the perusal of the opinion of the Medical Board, it is abundantly clear that not only one medical practitioner but the Board of Doctors has recommended the medical termination of pregnancy of the minor,” the court said. “It is, thus, apparent that in case the pregnancy of the minor is not terminated at the earliest, it would multiply medical and other problems.”
Observing that “unfortunately” the minor girl became pregnant under alleged rape committed upon her, the court said, “Giving birth to a child before marriage that too, in unpleasant circumstances, is still considered stigmatic by many in the society.”
In case the pregnancy of the minor was allowed to continue, the court said, the child, if any, born out of such pregnancy would haunt her for the rest of her life. The court was hearing a petition by the minor girl, through her father seeking its intervention for medically terminating her 13-week pregnancy. The court had last week directed the concerned authorities to immediately get her examined by the Board of Doctors constituted.
“The circumstances under which the minor has conceived child do demonstrate that the continuance of the pregnancy would cause injury to the mental health of the minor girl. This has already been settled by the Supreme Court and various High Courts in several judgments,” the court said. “Having regard to the totality of circumstances, the respondents are directed to go ahead with the medical termination of the pregnancy of the petitioner subject of course to taking of reasonable care and following requisite medical protocols.”
About the larger issue of dealing with such situations with court interventions in J&K, the court said, “Larger issue as to how the State should respond in such situations without the intervention of the court should be considered after the respondents file their detailed reply and indicate the steps taken or the procedure in place to deal with such cases of medical termination of pregnancy.”
After the request by the government’s counsel Sajad Ashraf, the court granted six weeks to file a detailed reply counter affidavit of the Director Health Services, Kashmir.