Rape Victim's Kin’s Consent Enough For Abortion? SC To Ponder

Rape Victim

The Supreme Court was today wondering if the kin of a rape victim be asked to give consent for termination of her pregnancy or should it be left to her alone?

This question will be deliberated by the Supreme Court tomorrow

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra is hearing a case of a 35- year-old HIV-positive destitute woman, who was raped on the streets of Patna and is 26 weeks pregnant.

SC wanted to know why the Patna High Court and Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) had sought the consent of her father and husband when the victim herself was against going ahead with the pregnancy keeping in mind that there was no family support to her.

She was deserted by the husband, while her parents had refused to accept her for reasons including alleging that she was of an unstable mind.

As the matter came up for hearing, a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar was informed about these facts by her counsel.

The submission evoked sharp reaction from the bench which said in the unfortunate circumstance, when a woman is raped and she is pregnant, her dignity to life is affected. How can her brother, father or husband be asked to give a consent? It is she who will mother the child, the bench said, while posting the matter for hearing tomorrow.

The issue arose after victim's Advocate Vrinda Grover told the bench that the woman deserved compensation from the Bihar Government as she had gone to PMCH for terminating her pregnancy when she was in her 17th week of pregnancy. She had said that she would terminate her pregnancy.

The hospital asked for the consent of the father which he gave, though it was not required under the law, she said.