What is the case
- A 13-year-old sexual assault survivor has been granted permission to terminate her 26-week-old pregnancy by the Kerala High Court.
- The pregnancy, according to Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas's single-judge bench, will cause serious harm to the minor and scar her life. It could also serve as a reminder of the rape to the survivor.
- After going to the hospital to report a sexual assault allegedly committed by her 14-year-old brother, the girl was discovered to be pregnant.
- According to the Judge, the parents and siblings will have to share this ordeal for the rest of their lives. It is clearly not in the best interests of society for this young victim to be subjected to the horror of abuse on a daily basis. The anguish she feels as a result of the pregnancy will last a lifetime, and she will have to live with the trauma for the rest of her life.
Detail of the case
- The case involves a minor who was admitted to the hospital after experiencing stomach pain. The doctor discovered the girl was almost six months pregnant during a physical test. Her parents filed a report with the police department as a result of this.
- The offence was committed by the victim's 14-year-old sibling, according to the investigation, and a complaint was filed with the Juvenile Justice Board.
- The girl was born in July of 2007, according to her birth certificate. The foetus was 24 weeks and four days old according to the scan report dated April 1, 2021.
- The father of the victim approached the High Court, claiming that his daughter had been raped by her own brother, and requested that the pregnancy of his daughter be terminated.
- The High Court called the Superintendent of Medical College, Kozhikode, as a fourth respondent and ordered them to form a Medical Board and report to the High Court on whether the victim should undergo medical termination of pregnancy.
- On April 19, the report was ordered to be presented to the High Court for consideration.
Order of the court
- The court ordered that a Medical Board be formed to investigate the possibility of performing a medical abortion on the woman.
- The Board determined that terminating the pregnancy would put the foetus at risk of being born alive, necessitating multiple inductions and treatments if the induction failed. In light of this danger, the Board suggested that the termination be permitted.
- The Court stated that if a Medical Board determined that continuing the pregnancy would endanger the pregnant woman's life or cause grave harm to her physical or mental health, or that there is a significant risk to the child after birth, the pregnancy must be terminated.
- Furthermore, if the pregnancy is induced by rape, it is assumed that the anguish caused by the pregnancy will constitute a grave injury to the pregnant woman's mental health, according to the Court.
- According to the bench, "The term "shall be assumed," which was established as a statutory assumption, clearly demonstrates the legislature's purpose. In the case of incest, the suffering caused by the pregnancy is statutorily treated as a grave injury to the pregnant woman's mental health, allowing the pregnancy to be terminated on the advice of two licensed medical practitioners "
- Because of the minor girl's distress and the medical board's opinion, the court granted the writ petition allowing the petitioner's daughter to have her pregnancy terminated.
- Allowing the pregnancy to continue would be painful for both the child and her parents, the Court reasoned. Because of the survivor's intimate association with the accused rapist, the child's parents have requested that the pregnancy be terminated, citing their child's trauma and the possibility of genetic defects in the unborn child.