On the 10th of August, 2020 the High Court of Delhi held a virtual hearing in the matter of Minor P (Through Mother M) vs State of NCT of Delhi & Anr. The Court allowed the termination of pregnancy citing psychological complications, as the victim of rape was a minor. The Court passed the order after considering the report of the medical board constituted by it and after evaluating the risk to the life of the survivor.
Facts of the Case
The Petitioner (name withheld) is a minor, aged sixteen years old, is a resident of Delhi. The Petitioner submitted that she had not been keeping well for the past one and a half years and used to faint quite often. While she was cleaning the area behind her jhuggi (slum dwelling), she stated that she had one such episode of fainting. When she regained her consciousness, the Accused (Pankaj Bhaiya) was said to be standing there by the Petitioner. She suspected that the rape occurred while she was unconsciousness.
Since that incident, she had started feeling nauseous and dizzy but did not suspect that she was pregnant. As her periods eventually stopped, she informed the nurses of Acharya Bhikshu Hospital about it. She then proceeded to get her urine samples tested, which did not confirm her pregnancy.
Considering the situation at hand, she was taken to the Mahavir Hospital, Pitampura for further medical examination. The subsequent report revealed that she was pregnant. Given the circumstances of the case, the same was reported to the Police. An FIR was filed under Section 376 of IPC (rape) and Section 6 of POSCO Act (Aggravated penetrative sexual assault) at the Police Station in Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi.
Submissions before the Court
The petitioner had been suffering a considerable amount of distress due to her pregnancy. The Petitioner and her family sought termination of the pregnancy. The doctors stated that the Petitioner was in the advanced stages of pregnancy, and the same could not be terminated. It was in the context mentioned above that the petitioner had filed the present petition.
The Court passed an order dated 7th August 2020, directing the Superintendent of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital to constitute a Medical Board to examine the petitioner. The Board was to report whether the termination of the pregnancy was likely to involve any sort of potential risk to the Petitioner. It was also directed that the Medical Board evaluate the risk of continuation of pregnancy.
Dr Renuka Malik and Dr Indu Chawla analysed the Petitioner’s report and stated that she was indeed under considerable stress. The Medical report (received electronically) revealed that she had been pregnant for about 22 weeks and 6 days with a marginal error of plus/minus 2 weeks. The clinical psychologist had also stated that continuation of the pregnancy might have psychological complications. The risk involving the termination of pregnancy was also explained to the Petitioner and her father.
Dr Indu Chawla also stated that further tests such as blood tests are required to assess whether there is any additional risk. She stated that subject to evaluating such risks, the Petitioner’s pregnancy could be terminated.
Observations of the Court
The High Court of Delhi had allowed the present petition. The Bench of Hon’ble Justice Vibhu Bakhru ordered the same, after considering the report of the Medical Board. The Court directed the petitioner be admitted to Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, and necessary procedures are carried out for termination of the pregnancy. Additionally, the procedure would be carried out only if the physical parameters of the petitioner did not indicate any added risk.
The Court also recorded its appreciation of the concerned doctors of the Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital for promptly constituting the Medical Board in examining the petitioner. Thus, the Court disposed of the petition.
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