India's top court rejects plea for termination of 10-year-old rape survivor's pregnancy
Expressing concern over practice of child marriage in the country, the top court said social justice laws in the country had not been implemented with the spirit they have been enacted. Photograph: (Zee News Network)
The Supreme Court of India has rejected a plea seeking its approval for the termination of the pregnancy of a 10-year-old rape survivor who is 32-weeks (eight months) pregnant.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud, had asked Chandigarh's Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI) to examine the rape survivor and the consequences if the termination of pregnancy was allowed.
It took note of the report of the medical board set up by PGI that termination of pregnancy was neither good for the girl nor for the foetus.
The court also suggested that the federal government set up a permanent medical board in each state to take prompt decisions in such cases.
The bench asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to consider its suggestion in view of the fact that the frequency of such cases before the top court had increased.
The PIL was filed after a Chandigarh district court on July 18 refused to let the girl undergo the abortion after it was confirmed that she was 26 weeks pregnant.
Her advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava had argued before the court that as per doctors, the pelvic bones of the girl were not fully developed and a full-term pregnancy at her tender age was extremely risky.
Courts allow medical termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. Exception can be made if the foetus is genetically abnormal.
The petition had requested the top court to frame appropriate guidelines to set up a permanent medical board in each district of India for expedient termination of pregnancies in exceptional cases involving child rape survivors and under the best-possible medical facilities.
It had also asked the top court to direct the government to amend Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, so as to permit termination of pregnancy of more than 20 weeks, particularly involving child rape survivors after obtaining the opinion of a permanently constituted medical board.
The girl was allegedly repeatedly raped by her maternal uncle, a hotel worker, over the past few months. He has been arrested.
Her father is a watchman and mother works as a domestic help.