While hearing a plea filed on behalf of a 12-year-old rape survivor seeking medical termination of pregnancy, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the medical board at Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandrapur to give an opinion regarding arrangements that can be made in case the baby is born alive as the board had concluded that it was a possibility.
Justice VM Deshpandeof the Nagpur bench, heard the criminal writ petition filed on behalf of the 12-year-old girl seeking directions to the respondents to terminate her unwanted 23-week pregnancy.
Since the petitioner was unable to engage a lawyer, Legal Services Authority appointed Advocate Sweety Bhatia as the victim's lawyer. Advocate Bhatia prepared the petition within half an hour and the matter was heard the same day on April 3.
The victim was sexually assaulted by accused Yogesh Ramchandra Dohtare, who is the friend of the victim's father. She became pregnant. The victim, aged about 12 years and 4 months, is a "child" within the meaning of Clause (d) of Section 2 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
Her mother lodged a report against accused Yogesh on March 14, 2020. Yogesh was booked for offences punishable under Sections 376, 376(2)(l)(j)(n), 506 of the Indian Penal Code and under Sections 3, 4, 5(j)(ii), 5(l), 5(m) and 6 of the POCSO Act.
APP NS Rao appeared for the State and District Child Protection Officer Ajay Sakharkar was also present along with the parents of the victim.
On April 3, Court directed the Dean, Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandrapur to constitute a Medical Board of Five Doctors, consisting of a Gynecologist, Radiologist, Cardiologist, Neurologist, Pathologist.
Thus, on April 6, the victim child was examined by the medical board and as per directions a report was submitted before the Court. The report states that there is a possibility that the baby is born alive.
On Wednesday, Court observed-
"From the aforesaid it is clear that the Medical Board is of the opinion that there is a possibility of baby born alive during the course of medical termination of the pregnancy. If such an event occurred, then it will not be a fetus, but it will be a pre-term baby. The report submitted by the Board is not elaborating anything about taking care of such a situation."
At this juncture, APP Rao sought time till April 15, 2020 to enable him to take appropriate instructions from the Medical Board especially in the light of the observations in the report.
Thus, Court granted time till April 15.
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