City Reports

Rajasthan High Court denies abortion request for 11-year-old rape victim

Justice Anoop Kumar Dhand held that a fully developed fetus also possesses the right to enter the world and live a healthy life. 

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January 25, 2024, 9:28 am

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Rajasthan high court. File photo.

JAIPUR: The Jaipur bench of the Rajasthan High Court has refused permission to abort the fetus of an 11-year-old rape victim who is currently in her 31st week of pregnancy. 

Justice Anoop Kumar Dhand held that a fully developed fetus also possesses the right to enter the world and live a healthy life. 

The advocate of the petitioner Fatehchand Saini told The PinkCity Post that the court has issued a slew of directions to the state government. 

The court directed that the child be handed over to the Child Welfare Committee in Jaipur after birth. The committee has been entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of all needs of the child. 

Single Judge Bench of Justice Anoop Kumar Dhand directed the state government to make all necessary arrangements for the delivery of the victim. Among other directions, the court said that: 

  • The government should ensure that the petitioner is admitted to a Government Balika Grih and provided all necessary care, food, and medical attention before and after the delivery
  • Add chief secretary of the Medical and Health Department and the Department of Woman and Child Development should provide a female nursing attendant to take care of the petitioner till her safe delivery 
  • The Superintendent of Mahila Chikitsayala (government women’s hospital) should ensure that the petitioner has access to all necessary medical facilities before and after the delivery. 
  • In addition, within three months through the Victim Compensation Scheme administered by the Legal Services Authority, compensation should be awarded to the victim as mandated by law. To safeguard these funds until she reaches adulthood, they will be held in fixed deposits.

The court also directed that the cord, blood, and tissue samples of the child should be retained and handed over to the police for DNA analysis. 

Advocate Saini said that an FIR had been registered by the uncle of the 11-year-old girl earlier this month under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act and sections 376AB, 376 (2) (n) and 376 (2) (f) of IPC. 

Advocate Fateh Chand Saini
Rajasthan high court advocate Fatehchand Saini

The father of the girl was suspected of raping her and as a result, the girl got pregnant. Saini said that in her petition, the petitioner had requested permission for abortion as the child would be a constant reminder to her about the atrocities committed against her. 

“Since the father himself was an accused, there was no one to take care of the girl and her child,” said advocate Saini. 

The court ordered a medical examination of the girl by a medical board. The court based its decision on the medical board’s report, which indicated that the fetus is fully developed with a heartbeat and that an abortion at this stage could pose significant risks.

“In the opinion of the Board, termination of pregnancy would not be safe for the petitioner and the same would be life-threatening to the victim, due to her advanced gestational period and the age of minor victim…There is no material available on the record on the basis of which this Court may differ with the opinion expressed by the Medical Board, hence under these circumstances, if any direction is issued for termination of the pregnancy of the petitioner, at this advanced stage, the same would endanger the life of the minor victim,” the high court said in the order.

Saini said that although the court denied the request for permission to abort the child, a slew of directions were given to the state government and other respondents for medical attention, care, and compensation. 

First published: January 20, 2024