On 26th May, the Bombay High Court disposed of a writ petition in the case of Ms X vs the State of Maharashtra. It allowed a minor to undergo medical termination of her pregnancy beyond 20 weeks. The father had sexually abused the minor.
Brief Facts of the Case
The suitor is the mother of a minor girl aged 13 years. In a heinous crime, the minor was sexually abused by her father. The incident took place when she was residing with her aunt in Thane. As a result of the abuse, the girl became pregnant with the child of her father. After that, she lodged an FIR in the Thane Police Station on 17th May 2020. An ultrasound test on 19th May revealed her to be 22 weeks pregnant. Section 3 (2b) of the Medical Termination Act, 1971 forbids termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks. Hence, the J.J. Hospital in Mumbai refused to abort the pregnancy. Consequently, the minor’s mother filed a writ petition before the Court. It prayed for the termination of pregnancy for her daughter.
On 22nd May, a division bench passed an interim order on the case. It directed the minor to present herself before the Medical Board of J.J. Group of Hospitals. The Board was to examine the minor and submit a report to the Court. The report was to state whether it would be advisable to terminate the pregnancy of the minor girl. The group of doctors evaluated the physical and psychological state of the minor. They opined that the continuation of the pregnancy might lead to pregnancy-related complications. It may induce anaemia, pregnancy-induced hypertension and complications during labour. They also stated their concern towards adverse psychological effects on the minor. By citing the same, the report had recommended the termination of pregnancy.
‘Coram – Justice Nitin Jamdar & Justice N.R.Borkar’
The Court considered the stand of the minor and her mother. It also considered the advice of the Medical Board. After conducting a thorough analysis, it deemed it necessary to allow the termination of the pregnancy. Thus, the Court permitted the minor to go ahead with the termination of her pregnancy. Additionally, it asked the petitioner to be with her daughter during the procedure. They are to be present at Sir J.J. Group of Hospitals on 29th May at 11 a.m. for the same. The Court allowed the Hospital to go ahead with the termination of pregnancy on the said date.
The Court ordered for the preservation of blood and tissue samples of the foetus since an FIR was filed. Medical testing – including DNA fingerprinting/mapping – requires the same. The Court ordered the investigating officer to collect the samples. The Forensic Science Laboratory will forward and preserve these samples for trial. In case a child is born alive from the procedure, the Hospital was to take all necessary steps to save its life. Accordingly, the State and its agencies will take full responsibility.
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