In a landmark judgment, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh Government to take care of the unborn child of a minor rape victim.
Indicting the State for its failure to protect a minor girl from a rapist, the High Court on Friday said it was now the obligation of the State to take care of the unborn child conceived after the crime.
The Court, however, has reserved its verdict on issues related to the rehabilitation of the child and his/her minor mother. The girl is currently undergoing treatment in King George's Medical University (KGMU) on State expense on the directives of the High Court.
In the Barabanki rape case, the victim who is about 13 years old had recently filed a petition in Court seeking permission to abort her unborn child, due to shame in society. The survivor's Counsel, Mohsin Iqbal, has filed an affidavit in Court to this effect. The girl said she wanted to give the child up for adoption soon after his birth as the minor accused has refused to marry the girl.
The Court had then directed the King George's Medical University to form a panel of doctors and examine whether the pregnancy can be safely terminated at this stage. However, doctors said that the foetus was more than seven months old and it was too risky to abort the child.
"I have two sisters, one is 18 and to be married soon. There is one brother and his family. How can they live in society with this stigma on me? I cannot afford keeping the to-be-born child with me," said the survivor in her statement to the Bench. Rape accused, also a minor, is in a juvenile home after his arrest.
A Division Bench of Justice Shabihul Hasnain and Justice DK Upadhyay said, “The child would be a citizen of the country and hence cannot be left to his fate”. On September 23rd, the Bench had appointed a panel of senior lawyers to assist the Court on the issue.
The legitimacy of the child, his status in society, protection and rehabilitation of the girl and that of the child are the other aspects on which the Bench would give its decision. Meanwhile, the State Government told the Bench that it had sanctioned Rs 3 lakh as compensation to the survivor on Thursday. The court is also expected to decide on whether the rape survivor's child would have legal rights on the rapist's property.