Bengaluru: In a landmark judgement, the Karnataka High Court on Thursday allowed a 16-year-old rape survivor to terminate her 25-week pregnancy.
The court made the judgement after the medical board found that the continuation of the pregnancy may impact the minor's mental and physical health besides impacting her status in society.
The court has also issued directions to the District Civil Hospital to ensure the minor's abortion.
The Dharwad High Court bench headed by Justice N.S. Sanjay Gowda said that in cases of rape on minor girls, the statutory limitations under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, are applicable only to medical practitioners while constitutional courts have to consider such cases in an altogether different light.
The bench further underlined that the right of a woman to exercise her reproductive choice is a dimension of personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
"The petitioner is just 16 years of age and her capability to deliver a child and foster it in the social milieu that she exists will have to be kept in mind while considering her request for terminating the pregnancy… Her parents are not possessed of means. The consequences of continuing the pregnancy would be severe and detrimental to a dignified life as contemplated under Article 21 of the Constitution," the order read as per a report by the Bar and Bench.
The teenager was allegedly raped on February 8, 2021. Belagavi police had registered a case under IPC and Pocso Act against a father-son duo.
With the medical practitioner and district hospital expressing helplessness due to the 24-week cap on abortion, the girl approached the high court, contending she "cannot be forced to carry the burden of a crime and deliver a baby conceived against the will".