The Delhi High Court issued rules allowing abortion on Wednesday in sex assault cases. Stating that forcing a woman to become pregnant would violate her right to live in dignity.
On Thursday, the Delhi High Court website posted the decision rendered by a single-judge panel. Which was presided over by Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma. The judge pointed out that making termination decisions takes up valuable time. In cases of pregnancies lasting longer than 24 weeks, it gave investigative authorities a number of directives.
Notably, a certified medical professional may terminate a pregnancy between 20 and 24 weeks. This is under Section 3 of The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
However, only some groups are allowed to have such terminations, such as minors and sexual assault survivors. It is only allowed in situations where the woman would be in severe danger of serious physical or mental harm. If the pregnancy were to continue.
In the 25th week of her pregnancy, a 14-year-old victim of sexual assault filed a petition with the court, seeking an abortion. While her parents, who monitor over construction sites, were away at work, the victim was assaulted.
The court granted the petition, taking into account the unusual circumstances of the case. Stating that constitutional court has extraordinary authority to terminate pregnancies even after the 25th week, recognizing the victim’s family’s unjust suffering.
Other Woman’s rights related to this:
Although the MTP Act prohibits abortions after the 25th week of pregnancy. The Delhi High Court ruled that constitutional courts have “exceptional powers” to permit such abortions even after the stipulated 24 weeks.
A judge must consider the social settings and effects of their orders. That too in addition to the facts and the law, according to Justice Sharma.
She claimed that the court was put in a position where it had to consider and deal with the victim’s family’s hardships, psychological damage, and sense of defeat. It was also decided that a woman has the right to decide whether or not she wants to carry on with the pregnancy. Also that she cannot be forced to bear children against her will.
There are still modifications which must be made in the rule. However, this does seem like a step in the right direction.
For more news, click here.