Bombay high court.
MUMBAI: A thirteen year old girl, who was sexually assaulted by her father, has moved the Bombay high court to grant permission for the medical termination of her almost 24 weeks pregnancy.
Her petition, filed through her mother who is a pavement dweller in South Mumbai and extremely poor, states that she was raped while she stayed at her aunt’s residence in Thane. As her father threatened her with dire consequences, she did not inform anyone of the incident. She confided in her aunt on May 14, 2020. As she was unwell, the next day she was taken to the hospital where it was revealed that she is pregnant. A first information report was lodged by the girl and her mother against the father under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The petition said an ultrasonography done recently showed she is 22 weeks pregnant. Her mother took her to JJ Hospital for an MTP on May 20, 2020 she was told her daughter is almost 24 weeks pregnant and since the foetus is more than 20 weeks old, she will require the high court’s permission. Among the grounds in the petition, is that forcing the minor to continue the pregnancy gravely endangers her mental and physical health by causing her significantly more mental anguish, trauma and physical pain than she would have had to endure if the pregnancy is allowed to be terminated. Also, forcing her to go through the unwanted pregnancy violates her right to dignity and sexual and reproductive freedom as guaranteed under Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution. The petition also mentions that minor is a slum-dweller and her mother does not “have resources to raise another child.”
The petition has urged the court to set up a medical panel to assist in arriving a decision and to allow MTP at a medical facility of her choice. The matter will be heard on Friday by a division bench of justice Ramesh Dhanuka and justice Abhay Ahuja.
(The victim’s identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme Court directives on cases related to sexual assault)