The Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the Centre on a plea seeking abortion of a 10-year-old rape survivor from Chandigarh, who is 26-week-old pregnant. The Apex Court also ordered the child’s examination by a medical board consented to by one of her parents.
A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud also directed that the member secretary of the Chandigarh Legal Services Authority be made a party to the case. It also asked the functionary to assist the court as an amicus curiae on July 28, the next date of hearing.
The bench said, “Before the matter is taken up for hearing on July 28, the member secretary, after having followed the procedure and obtained due permission of at least one of the parents of the child, shall have the child examined at the PGI, Chandigarh, by a board of doctors on July 26...”
The court has directed this so as to get an assurance whether the health of the rape survivor doesn’t get affected. “The member secretary shall carry the report of the board of doctors of the PGI, Chandigarh, to this court for its consideration, in a sealed cover,” the bench said.
Legal services functionary was also advised by the court to arrange for transportation of the victim, as well as, at least to one of her parents at the time of medical examination.
“Such facilities shall be extended by the member secretary for effectuating the presence of the girl child involved, as also at least one of her parents, in this court, during the course of hearing, hereinafter,” the court said.
The PIL was filed in the Supreme Court after on July 18 after the girl was being refused to undergo the abortion by a local district court in Chandigarh, after knowing that her foetus was 26-week-old.
Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, medical termination of pregnancy can be allowed by the courts up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, exceptions can be made in case of genetically abnormal foetus.
The petition, filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, has sought appropriate guidelines be framed by the top court to set up a permanent medical board in each district of the country for expedient termination of pregnancies in exceptional cases involving child rape survivors under the best-possible medical facilities.
“Medical experts have categorically opined that if the 10-year-old rape survivor is forced to give birth through normal delivery or C-section, it may be fatal to the life of the girl as well her child,” the petition filed through advocate Kedar Nath Tripathy has said.
The petition has also sought a direction to the Centre to amend Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, so as to permit termination of pregnancy of more than 20 weeks, particularly involving child rape survivors after obtaining requisite opinion from a permanently constituted medical board.
With PTI inputs.