The Gujarat High Court allowed the termination of 22-week pregnancy of a 14-year-old rape victim, holding that abortion was in the "best interest" of the teenaged victim.
"After careful inquiry of the medical opinion on feasibility of the pregnancy as well as social circumstances faced by the victim, this Court is of the opinion that termination of pregnancy requires to be permitted, which is in the best interest of the victim," Justice Sonia Gokani said in an order given last week.
She also added that a team of doctors will examine the victim once again to ensure her safety before the operation is conducted as she is suffering from low blood count level.
The girl, hailing from Rajkot, had submitted a special criminal application seeking Court permission, at the earliest, to terminate her pregnancy of 22 weeks citing her age and "in the larger interest of justice". It also said that continuance of the pregnancy would cause grave injury to her health and well-being.
The HC relied on an order of the Supreme Court in the case of Chandrakant Jayantilal Suthar vs State of Gujarat where the apex court had held the "best interest" of the victim as the benchmark for passing orders in such cases.
Gokani also said, "In the present set of circumstances, the Court's decision has to be guided by the best interest of the victim alone and not of the stakeholders nor of the guardian."
As per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, abortion can be done up to 20-week of pregnancy.
A rape case was filed on 22 May 2016 in Rajkot Mahila police station after the victim's parents came to know their daughter was pregnant.
The accused, a 21-year-old youth who was known to the girl, was later arrested. The victim's parents first moved to the local court in Rajkot for termination of pregnancy. However, the Rajkot Court denied a nod for the medical procedure following which they approached the HC.
-with PTI inputs