Court to the rescue of rape survivors

Says victims suffering from unwanted pregnancy need not be referred to medical board

Published: 22nd June 2019 04:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd June 2019 04:39 AM   |  A+A-

Madras High Court

Madras High Court (Photo | D Sampath Kumar, EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: In the cases where a rape victim suffers from an unwanted pregnancy that does not exceed 20 weeks, she may not be referred to the Medical Board constituted recently following a direction from the Union government, the Madras High Court has held.

The termination of pregnancy can be done as per the provisions of Sec. 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and the victim should not be unnecessarily made to knock on the doors of this court, said Justice N Anand Venkatesh on Wednesday.

Even in cases where the length of pregnancy exceeds 20 weeks, pregnancy can be terminated in accordance with Sec. 5(1) of the MTP Act immediately to save the life of the pregnant woman if a medical practitioner forms such an opinion in good faith. In all other cases where the length of pregnancy exceeds 20 weeks, the victim may approach the High Court seeking termination of pregnancy and then, the court will refer the matter to the permanent Medical Board constituted by the Tamil Nadu government. The Board shall examine such cases and ensure urgent/immediate action and submit its report to the court and based on it, the court can take a decision, the judge said.

In the cases involving termination of pregnancy where a criminal case is pending, samples will be taken for DNA test of both mother and conceptus (foetus and placenta) and sent to the Forensic Laboratory through the police concerned and a report shall also be received from it, the judge said.

The judge was rejecting a plea from the mother of a rape victim to transfer the case investigation from the All Women Police Station in Kilpauk to the Inspector attached to the Special Crime Branch of the CID in Egmore.

“This court does not want to transfer the probe at this stage and the investigation conducted by the Kilpauk police shall be monitored by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Kilpauk and he shall ensure that the investigation progresses effectively,” the judge added.

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