The court was hearing a plea filed by the minor, through her father, for handing over her custody to him. (Image/ ANI)
Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma said allowing the minor victim to give birth and raise the child, knowing that she herself is an adolescent and mentally and physically unprepared, will be totally inappropriate and improper
The Delhi High Court has allowed a 16-year-old girl, an alleged sexual assault victim, to undergo termination of nearly 24-week pregnancy after her father, who earlier consented to the minor’s abortion, did not come forward to sign the consent form.
The high court said in view of the urgency of the matter, as there were only 2-3 days left before the legal limit of 24 weeks for medical termination of pregnancy is reached, the superintendent of Nirmal Chhaya Complex, where the girls has been staying since October last year, can sign the consent form. The superintendent of the facility was appointed as the girl’s guardian by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma said allowing the minor victim to give birth and raise the child, knowing that she herself is an adolescent and mentally and physically unprepared, will be totally inappropriate and improper.
“This would only be leading her to trauma for the entire life and miseries in all manners, be it emotional, physical and mental, given the social, financial and other factors that are associated with raising a child,” the high court said.
As per a February 24 report of a medical board, the minor was 22-week pregnant and was fit to continue per pregnancy or undergo medical termination of the foetus.
The high court said, being a constitutional court, it was duty bound to see the best interest of the victim.
“This court considers that in view of the consent given by the victim, the same cannot be frustrated only on the account of irresponsible act of her father who after giving the consent is not coming forward to fulfil the formalities. The reasons for this act of the father can later be seen and inquired into by the investigation officer during the investigation of the case,” it said.
The court was hearing a plea filed by the minor, through her father, for handing over her custody to him.
While the matter was pending, the court was informed that the victim was pregnant which led to the formation of the medical board.
Thereafter, the minor and her father told the high court that they were ready for medical termination of pregnancy without any fear, force and coercion and the father also gave his unconditional consent for the procedure in the best interests of the child.
For conducting the medical procedure, the high court asked the Medical Superintendent of Lady Hardinge Medical College and the medical board to ensure that the termination of pregnancy is undertaken by competent doctors in accordance with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and other rules, regulations and guidelines prescribed.
It said the doctors shall also preserve the tissue of the fetus as it may be necessary for DNA identification and all other purposes in reference to the criminal case which has been registered in respect of sexual assault.
“The state shall also bear all expenses necessary for the termination of pregnancy of the petitioner, her medicines, food etc. The state shall also bear all expenses for further care during recovery,” it said.
It also directed the standing counsel of Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee to place a proper plan for rehabilitation of the minor in consultation with the Delhi High Court Legal Services Authority and the Child Welfare Committee.
“The Delhi High Court Legal Service Committee shall be the nodal agency to co-ordinate with all the other agencies and present a plan before this court for the rehabilitation and well being of the child,” the court said.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)