The Supreme Court today issued notice in a plea to have medical boards in all districts with necessary gynaecologists and paediatricians, so that rape victims can be helped at the early stage.
The Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justice AS Bopanna passed the order in a plea filed by a 14-year-old girl from Haryana who was raped by her cousin. She had initially approached the Court seeking permission to terminate her 26-week-old pregnancy.
Appearing for the petitioner, Advocate VK Biju informed the Court that after perusing the medical board assessment, it was decided that the prayer to abort the child will not be pursued.
However, the petition had also prayed for setting up of medical boards in all districts so that rape victims can avail of necessary legal rights when found pregnant.
“If there is a local board to check such cases it will be helpful. When rapes are not reported, its different. But when it’s reported you can follow up with whether she (victim) is pregnant and what are her legal rights. If a woman gets raped and pregnant she must be told of options,” CJI told Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati.
ASG Bhati stated that a reply will be filed in this regard.
“We will file an affidavit. Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 is passed by Lok Sabha and now awaits Rajya Sabha. The limit is 25 weeks and if there is a genetical deformity, then there is no time limit,” she said.
Under the current form of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, termination of pregnancy exceeding twenty weeks is not permissible without the leave of a court.
The case will now be heard after four weeks.