BHUBANESWAR: Acting on a petition by the father of a 14-year-old rape survivor who is 23 weeks pregnant, for medical termination of her pregnancy, a division bench of Orissa High Court recently asked the Superintendent of SCB Medical College and Hospital to examine her condition.
The case was referred for abortion by the district headquarters hospital at Puri to the SCB MCH on March 26, 2021, noting in the referral sheet that her pregnancy was 21 weeks old.
The superintendent had maintained that since the pregnancy was more than 20 weeks, the MTP could not be done in terms of MTP Act, 1971 and special permission of the court would be required.
The father of the minor girl filed a petition on Friday.
After special mention, the Court took up the matter in view of the urgency involved. The petitioner counsel submitted that the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 (‘MTP, Act 2021’) states that the pregnancy may be terminated by a registered medical practitioner where the length of the pregnancy exceeds 20 weeks but is not more than 24 weeks, if two registered medical practitioners have formed an opinion in good faith that the continuance of such pregnancy shall constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.
Taking note of it, the division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray directed the superintendent to constitute a board of three medical experts, who will examine the girl either by this evening or at the latest tomorrow.
It further said that without awaiting further orders from the court if they recommend that the MTP be carried out, then the SCB MCH superintendent will proceed to arrange for it to take place at the earliest considering that girl’s condition.