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SC notice to Centre on plea to have medical boards in all districts to help rape victims

ANI | Updated: Mar 12, 2021 21:36 IST

New Delhi [India], March 12 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Central government on a plea seeking to have medical boards in all districts look at cases connecting to termination of pregnancy.
The order was passed while hearing a plea filed by a 14-year-old girl from Haryana who was reportedly raped by her cousin. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde sought a response from the government within four weeks.
The girl approached the top court seeking permission to terminate her 26-week-old pregnancy.
Appearing for the petitioner, Advocate VK Biju informed the Court that he has perused the medical board report and it was decided that he will not seek abortion of the girl as suggested in the report.
The Bench had earlier asked the medical board in a government hospital in Haryana to examine if it would be safe for a 14-year-old girl to terminate her 26 week-pregnancy.

The girl in her plea has said she was raped by her cousin brother that led to the unwanted pregnancy.
Today, advocate Biju said he sought setting up of medical boards in all districts so that rape victims can avail of necessary legal and medical rights when found pregnant.
Thereafter, the Bench issued notice to the Centre for setting up of medical boards in all districts with necessary gynaecologists and paediatricians, citing that it will help rape survivors at the early stage.
The Bench asked Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, "If there is a local board to check such cases it will be helpful. When rapes are not reported, it is different. But when it's reported you can follow up with whether the victim is pregnant and what are her legal rights. If a woman gets raped and pregnant she must be told of options."
Bhati assured the apex court that an affidavit will be filed in this regard. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 has recently been passed by Lok Sabha and now awaits Rajya Sabha. The limit of abortion is 25 weeks and if there is a genetical deformity, then there is no time limit, she added.
Under the current form of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, termination of pregnancy exceeding twenty weeks is not permissible without the leave of a court. (ANI)