24 Sep 2021 8:15 AM GMT
In a writ petition filed by a rape victim seeking medical termination of pregnancy, the Delhi High Court has issued directions to the Medical Superintendent, AIIMS, to immediately constitute a medical board and examine the feasibility of terminating the victim's 20 weeks old foetus.Justice Mukta Gupta on Thursday ordered that the Board will be constituted and the petitioner will be...
In a writ petition filed by a rape victim seeking medical termination of pregnancy, the Delhi High Court has issued directions to the Medical Superintendent, AIIMS, to immediately constitute a medical board and examine the feasibility of terminating the victim's 20 weeks old foetus.
Justice Mukta Gupta on Thursday ordered that the Board will be constituted and the petitioner will be examined within a day. The order stated,
"This Court requests the Medical Superintendent, AIIMS to immediately constitute a medical board to examine the petitioner today or latest by tomorrow, i.e. 24th September, 2021 and in case the pregnancy can be terminated safely with no harm to the life of the petitioner the same be carried out expeditiously."
The petitioner alleged that her gestational period was below 20 weeks when she approached AIIMS for medical termination of pregnancy. However, since the hospital turned down her request, she was constrained to move the High Court.
The Petitioner's counsels claimed that she was very well covered under the old and the new law on medical termination of pregnancy. However, due to AIIMS refusal, the Petitioner was 20 weeks pregnant.
On hearing this, the Court opined that the matter requires immediate action for enforcement of the petitioner's right to get her pregnancy medically terminated. Refusing the request made by the AIIMS' counsel to grant him some time to seek instructions, the Court orally remarked, "You cannot ask for weeks in such matters."
On June 23, 2021, the FIR was registered for rape committed against the petitioner-victim. Months later, in August, the petitioner got to know about her pregnancy when she was 15 weeks pregnant. In the first week of September, the applicant approached AIIMS seeking termination of pregnancy. However, the hospital refused to terminate the pregnancy since the gestational period was more than 16 weeks.
It is the petitioner's case that she is squarely covered under the newly enacted Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act 2021, which has increased the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for survivors of rape, victims of incest, and other vulnerable women (differently-abled women, minors, among others). However, despite being squarely covered by the law, the respondent-hospital denied the termination of pregnancy without seeking the advice of two registered medical practitioners, as mandated under the law.
The matter is now listed on September 27, 2021.
Advocates Anwesh Madhukar and Prachi Nirwan represented the petitioners.
The respondents were represented by Additional Standing Counsel Kamna Vohra, Advocate V. Shashank Kumar, and Advocate V.S.R. Krishna, Standing Counsel.
Click Here To Download/Read The Order