The bench added that the girl had full understanding of pregnancy, and had herself brought a pregnancy kit and confirmed pregnancy, but did not file for termination in February, this year.
The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court recently refused to allow a 17-year-old girl to terminate her over 25-week pregnancy, who had indulged in consensual relationship with her boyfriend, observing that as per the report of the medical board, if the abortion is allowed, an underdeveloped live child would be born due to forced delivery.
The bench added that the girl had full understanding of pregnancy, and had herself brought a pregnancy kit and confirmed pregnancy, but did not file for termination in February, this year. While the order was passed on July 26, the petitioner completed 18 years of age on July 29.
The court also noted that “in the backdrop of the girl having accompanied her friend and had physical relations with him for a couple of weeks until they were apprehended, the future health of the child as well its physical and mental development needs to be considered at this stage.”
A division bench of Justices Ravindra V Ghuge and YG Khobragade passed an order on July 26 in a plea by a 17 years and 11 months old girl filed through her mother, seeking to terminate her nearly 25-week pregnancy. The girl had claimed that she was a child under provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and pregnancy would cause grave injury to her mental health and she wishes to become a doctor in future.
The bench in its earlier order of July 18, while referring the girl for medical examination, had noted that she would become 18-year-old on July end and she and the accused had consensual physical relations since December 2022. Moreover, the petitioner victim herself brought a pregnancy kit and confirmed pregnancy in February, this year.
“Therefore, it appears that the petitioner victim is not innocent and she was having full maturity of understanding. Thereafter, she disclosed the fact of her pregnancy to her lover-accused and then both of them fled with an intention to get married, but due to the shortage of a few days to attain majority, they could not get married. Therefore, if the petitioner was not interested in carrying the pregnancy, in that event, she could have sought permission for termination of pregnancy soon after confirmation of pregnancy, by approaching the High Court,” it observed.
The bench referred to a report by the medical board which examined the victim girl and stated that there was no anomaly in the foetus and that the growth was normal. It had stated that if pregnancy is allowed to be terminated, “the child born will show signs of life but not capable of its independent survival.”
“If a live baby is born even today after a forcible delivery of the child, considering the request of the probable mother for terminating the pregnancy, it would lead to an underdeveloped live child being born…” the bench observed.
The court said it was not inclined to permit termination of pregnancy as in any case the child is going to be born alive and the natural delivery is just 15 weeks (from the date of order) away.
The bench said the girl can opt for shelter homes run by a social organisation for further care during pregnancy, which will also have a female psychologist to take care of her. Moreover, it said if the girl later wishes to put up the child for adoption she was at liberty to do so. “If the baby is well developed and delivered as a full term baby, there would be no deformity and the chances of adoption would be brightened,” the bench observed.