Citing Health Concerns, Top Court Recalls Order Allowing Teen To End Pregnancy

Supreme Court recalled order allowing 14-year-old rape survivor to terminate pregnancy

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court has recalled it earlier order allowing a 14-year-old rape survivor to terminate her pregnancy.

It reversed the order after the girl’s parents said they will raise the baby and have concerns about the health of their daughter if the medical procedure went ahead.

“The interest of the child is paramount,” Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said after speaking to the survivor’s parents on video conferencing.

On April 22, the Supreme Court had allowed the rape survivor to terminate her 30-week pregnancy, overturning an order by the Bombay High Court. The court had called it an “exceptional case” and allowed the abortion on the basis of a hospital report.

Indian law requires the court’s permission to undergo abortion beyond 24 weeks of pregnancy.

A bench led by Chief Justice Chandrachud had said that while undergoing abortion at this stage involves some risk, medical experts in this case have opined that the threat to life is not higher than the risk of full-term delivery.

The medical board at a Sion hospital had opined in favour of the abortion. Based on it, the court on April 22 allowed the abortion by invoking Article 142 of the Constitution, which empowers it to pass an order needed to ensure justice in any case pending before it.

Passing the order, the court noted that the teenager was unaware of her pregnancy till a very late stage. The court was also informed that a rape case had been filed in this matter along with charges under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, or POCSO.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 2021 allows medical termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks with the opinion of a registered medical practitioner, and up to 24 weeks in some cases. In cases beyond that upper limit, one has to approach the court.