Delhi High Court allows rape survivor’s plea to terminate 8-week pregnancy

NEW DELHI:  The Delhi High Court today came to the aid of a 20-year-old rape survivor by allowing her to terminate her eight week pregnancy which she alleged was a result of the sexual assault on her.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru noted that under the law, pregnancy of less than 12 weeks can be terminated if a medical practitioner comes to the conclusion that it would cause harm, including mental trauma, to the mother.

The court said in the instant case, as per the facts and circumstances, it saw no reason for a medical practitioner not to accept her plea for terminating the pregnancy.

It allowed the survivor to approach Lady Hardinge Medical College, as desired by her, for medical termination of her pregnancy.

The court directed that a female police official should accompany her to the hospital where the termination would be carried out at the state’s expense, as the victim belonged to the economically weaker strata of the society.

It also granted her additional plea for preservation of tissue samples of the foetus for the purpose of DNA testing.

The court directed the hospital to preserve a tissue sample with itself and forward the remaining to the investigating officer (IO) probing the rape case.

The police was directed to take requisite steps for sending the tissue samples for DNA testing so that the results can be used during the trial of the case.

With the directions, the Delhi High Court disposed of the victim’s plea claiming she was repeatedly raped by the accused between February 14 to August 29 this year.

She has alleged that the accused initially raped her by drugging her and he also took embarrassing and compromising photographs and videos of her.

Thereafter, by threatening to leak the pictures and videos he repeatedly raped her, she has alleged in her petition.

An FIR was lodged by her on September 17, 2017, and when her medical examination was carried out, she realised she was pregnant, the plea said.

The victim had initially moved an application before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) in Tis Hazari court on September 20 for permission to medically terminate her pregnancy.

However, the magisterial court had declined to grant any relief, saying it was not the appropriate forum.