The Supreme Court on Friday gave the recommendation for curating a board which will give advice to the rape survivors about their legal rights on pregnancy provided they want to terminate the pregnancy.
The bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde and Justice Bopanna said, “There could be a local board that can follow up with the rape survivor in cases where the rape is reported. A girl who gets pregnant must be told about her legal rights under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.”
When broaching about a situation which may arise in the future when the rape survivor does not want to continue with the pregnancy, the bench sought to know from the Centre if something could be done adhering to this critical condition.
The suggestion was passed while resolving the case where a 14 year old rape survivor from Haryana wished to do the abortion of a 26-week foetus. Based on the medical report presented at the court, citing the advanced stage of pregnancy, abortion was not feasible. Post the report, advocate VK Biju, fighting for the survivor, put down the appeal for abortion but asked for a general order from the top court for providing a remedy for such situations in the future.
The bench said, “The situation as it has arisen in the present case needs to be dealt with sensitivity and care.”
It was informed to the court by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati regarding the amendment to the MTP Act at an advanced stage with the Bill regarding the issue be passed in the Lok Sabha but still pending for the Rajya Sabha.
Aishwarya mentioned the amended law deliberates on termination of pregnancy at 25 weeks for such cases where the medical board is of the opinion that the pregnancy will be a threat to the lives of the mother or the child. She asked for a time span of two weeks to file the response regarding the subject.
As per the MTP Act, there is a legal bar for terminating the pregnancy over 20 weeks which is provided under Section3(2)(b). Earlier, the Supreme Court has given permit for pregnancy termination for up to 26 weeks post consultation with the medical board.
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