Published: 16th May 2020
Form medical board to decide minor's pregnancy termination: Bombay High Court
Justice S J Kathawalla passed the direction on Friday after the minor told the court that she was in mental trauma and that she wished to terminate her pregnancy to concentrate on studies
The Bombay High Court has directed the city-based J J Hospital to form a medical board and assess whether a 24-week pregnant minor victim of sexual assault can undergo medical termination of the pregnancy without any health risks.
Justice S J Kathawalla passed the direction on Friday after the minor told the court that she was in mental trauma and that she wished to terminate her pregnancy in order to be able to concentrate on her studies. The court was hearing a petition filed by the minor's mother, seeking that the girl is permitted to terminate the pregnancy since it was the result of a sexual assault that she had endured last year.
The mother also told the high court that the police had already filed a case of sexual assault against the minor's perpetrator. As per the plea, the girl, who is 17 years of age currently, had run away from her parents' home in the city in November last year. She returned in January 2020 and in May this year, following an episode of stomach ache, she realised that she was pregnant.
According to the girl, she left her parents' house and got a job at a factory near Navi Mumbai. The accused worked at the same factory, she said. Responding to the court's query on how she secured a job at a factory despite being a minor, the girl told Justice Kathawalla through video-conferencing that she was not asked for any documents at the unit.
She also told the court that she was undergoing much mental trauma due to the pregnancy and hence, wanted to terminate it. "A query raised by the court whether 'Y' (the minor girl) wants the child to be aborted, 'Y' informed the Court that she is wanting to have her pregnancy terminated because she is undergoing severe mental trauma, and wants to go back to her studies and start a new normal life for herself which will ensure a bright future," the court said while directing the board to be formed.
Justice Kathawalla directed the girl to go before the board for a medical assessment on Saturday. "The board shall place their report before this court, setting out whether in its view it will be advisable to terminate the pregnancy. The board will also mention in the report if any risk is involved with regard to the life of 'Y'," the court said.