19 Jun 2023 3:23 PM GMT
The Gujarat High Court today refused to allow the termination of over 31-week pregnancy of a minor rape survivor (aged around 17 years) in view of the MTP Board’s opinion that that termination of pregnancy is not advisable. The bench of Justice Samir J. Dave, however, did direct the state government to take necessary steps to extend all the facilities available as per the policies...
The Gujarat High Court today refused to allow the termination of over 31-week pregnancy of a minor rape survivor (aged around 17 years) in view of the MTP Board’s opinion that that termination of pregnancy is not advisable.
The bench of Justice Samir J. Dave, however, did direct the state government to take necessary steps to extend all the facilities available as per the policies of the State of Gujarat to the girl till she delivers the child.
The bench also directed the State Government to pay the compensation to the rape victim as per the prevailing policies of the State Government under the different provisions, if she is found entitled to the same, at the earliest.
The order was passed in the plea filed by the father of the victim girl seeking termination of her 29-week pregnancy.
It may be noted that this order comes 3 days after the court explored the option to compromise the matter between the victim and the accused, however, the idea was drooped after the Accused informed the bench that he is already married and his wife is expecting a child.
Essentially, the Court, on June 15, directed for the production of the Rape Accused from jail to explore 'possibilities' for a compromise.
'Where is the accused? Is there a chance of compromise?', the bench of Justice Samir J. Dave had orally remarked while adding that he had something in his mind that he did not wish to disclose.
More details of the hearing here: 'Is There A Chance To Compromise?': Gujarat HC Directs Production Of Rape Accused From Jail In Minor's Pregnancy Termination Plea To Explore 'Possibilities'
It may be noted that pursuant to the Court's June 7 order, a medical board of Rajkot Hospital submitted its report (on June 8) giving its opinion against the termination of the fetus, which was then 29 weeks and 5 days old.
Taking into account the said report of the MTP board, wherein no abnormalities were detected in the physical and mental condition of the victim girl, the Court while issuing directions to the state government as aforesaid, made it open for the applicant to approach the court at any time, in case of any difficulty.
The bench also factored into account the will of the applicant and the victim girl to stay at Nari Sarankshan Gruh in Rajkot till she delivers a child, and directed the Secretary of the Women and Child Welfare Department, Sachivalaya, Gandhinagar as well as the Additional Chief Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment Department, Gandhinagar to take necessary steps to extend all the facilities available as per the policies of the State of Gujarat.
“Mr. Vishal N. Acharya, Legal Advisor, Director, Social Defence under the Social Justice and Empowerment Department is directed to look into the matter in coordination of both the departments mentioned above as per the prevailing policies of the State Government. 10. It is also open for the victim that as and when she found suitable to stay in the Nari Sarankshan Gruh, Rajkot Kanya Shala Building, Yagnik Road, Rajkot then she will inform the concerned officer and concerned officer will take appropriate steps for her stay,” the Court further directed while ordering the concerned govt departments to submit progress report before the court from time to time.
It may be recalled that this is the same matter wherein on June 7, the bench had orally observed as to how it was normal in the past for 14-15-year-old girls to get married and deliver a child before they turn 17.
Essentially, on June 7, as the Counsel for the father of the rape survivor pressed for medical termination of the fetus in view of the tender age of the girl, the Bench of Justice Samir J. Dave remarked thus:
“Because we are living in the 21st century, ask your mother or great-grandmother, 14-15 was the maximum age (for getting married). The child used to take birth before the age of 17. Girls get matured before boys. 4-5 months here and there doesn’t make a difference. You will not read it, but do read Manusmruti once for this.”
Read more about the case here: ‘14-15 Year-Old Girls Used To Get Married & Deliver Child Before 17 In Past, Read Manusmriti’: Gujarat HC In Plea For Termination Of Minor’s 7-Month Fetus
Advocate Sikander Saiyed and Ilin Saraswat for the Applicant.
Advocate Asmita V Patel for the Respondent No. 2
APP JK Shah for the Respondent No. 1
Case title – XYZ (Minor) vs. State of Gujarat
Case Citation: 2023 Livelaw (Guj) 101
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