Sunday, Nov 27, 2022

Kerala High Court Witnesses Surge In Minor Rape Pleas Seeking Pregnancy Termination

In a latest three new cases have appeared before the Kerala High Court, in September, of minor rape victims seeking medical termination of their pregnancies, as a result of sexual assault on them.

Minor rape victims knock doors of Kerala High Court.(Representational image)

The Kerala High Court is witnessing surge in minor rape victim pleas seeking medical termination of their pregnancies—result of the sexual assault on them.

In September, there have been at least three such cases before the Court granted permission for abortion in the cases following a medical board recommended termination of the pregnancy.

Last week, the Court had permitted abortion and the other case on Monday, saying the freedom of a pregnant woman cannot be taken away.

In both these cases the pregnancy was way above 20 weeks, the maximum limit prescribed under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy of Act for aborting a foetus.

However, in both cases, the medical board was of the view the continuing with the pregnancy would affect the mental and physical health of the minor rape victims.

In both cases, the board also said that the foetus might survive the process, prompting the court to direct the hospital authorities to ensure the baby's life is protected.

The court also directed the hospital, in both cases, to preserve blood and tissue samples of the foetus to carry out necessary medical tests, including DNA mapping.

In the third case, which came up before the high court on Monday, the plea said that while the pregnancy was just 8 weeks old, the hospital authorities were refusing to abort the foetus as the minor girl was a rape victim.

The lawyer for the petitioner told the court that the hospital authorities were worried they would be prosecuted for destruction of evidence, if they carry out the termination of pregnancy.

The court, subsequently, directed the state government lawyer to take instructions in the matter and listed it for hearing on Wednesday.

Prior to these three cases, the high court had allowed medical termination of pregnancy in another case in July where the rape victim was minor and also mentally challenged.

Between May last year and January 2021, the high court had granted similar relief to seven minor girls who were sexually assaulted in different instances during the COVID-19 lockdown and became pregnant as a result.

The relief was granted on the pleas moved by their respective mothers and after a medical board recommended that pregnancy can be terminated. (With PTI inputs)