HC permits Nepalese minor rape victim to undergo medical termination of 27-week pregnancy

The Delhi High Court Friday allowed a minor victim of gang rape hailing from Nepal to undergo medical termination of pregnancy at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital in a case where the gestational period has crossed the stipulated period of 24 weeks.

“Accordingly in view of the fact that the child is a rape victim and taking a humanitarian view of the matter though the child and her family are Nepalese citizens, this court directs that the medical termination of pregnancy be effected as soon as possible by the doctors of the LNJP hospital,” said a single judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh after interacting with the medical board at the hospital and the mother of the victim.

The HC further directed that the medical team at LNJP hospital shall ensure that the best possible care is given to the girl and she is also given post-operative care so that she recovers and is only then discharged.

The present order is being passed in the particular facts and circumstances of the case, the HC said.

“The family has assured that in case the foetus is born alive considering the age of the foetus, the family would give adequate care in the nursery of LNJP,” the court recorded.

At this point, advocate Anuj Kapoor appearing for the mother of the victim said that in case that happens “we will revive the writ petition and will seek appropriate directions”. The court however said that they have the permission to file the application but till then they will have to take care of the baby.

During the course of the hearing, two doctors from Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Neonatology, LNJP, who had joined the proceedings virtually, informed the court that the opinion of the medical board is that termination of pregnancy can be done however there are certain risks involved owing to the fact that the girl has low haemoglobin and the baby is in the gestational period of 27 weeks.

Both doctors informed the court that they have given counseling to the mother on the risks involved. Kapoor also submitted that they are conscious of the risks involved.

The case of the petitioner was that her daughter was subject to a brutal gang rape incident in Nepal in October 2022. The petitioner and her entire family are Nepalese citizens and both the parents of the girl were working in India, the court was told.

Kapoor had previously argued that the girl moved in with her parents in India in March this year which is when she realised that she was pregnant.

By the time she approached the authority concerned or the doctors for the purpose of termination, she was already 25 weeks pregnant, the court was told previously. The mother, thereafter, approached the HC, seeking permission for termination of the daughter’s pregnancy which is beyond 24 weeks – the current permissible limit. On April 21 the HC had directed LNJP to constitute a medical board to examine the minor girl and give an opinion.

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