On Friday, the Delhi High Court sought the stand of the Centre and the city government on a plea that sought the medical termination of pregnancy of a 16-year-old girl, without reporting the matter to the local police. The girl in question was in a consensual sexual relationship.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad has requested the Additional Solicitor General to be present and assist the court during the next hearing scheduled on 20 September. The petition was filed by the mother of the minor girl who was 18-week pregnant.
The HC’s stand
The court noted that since the consent of the victim is immaterial in a sexual offence case involving a minor, there was no issue with the medical termination of pregnancy. However, the incident has to be mandatorily reported to the police as per section 19 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
“If she is a minor, it is an offence. The matter has to be reported to the police. They might not be interested but the offence is against the State”, the court stated.
The petitioner’s stand
Lawyer Amit Mishra, presenting the petitioner, claimed that medical professionals have refused to terminate the pregnancy without informing the police. He added that the minor was in a consensual relationship and her family does not want to report the matter fearing shame and humiliation, and to avoid social stigma. The petitioner has also stated tif the termination of pregnancy isn’t allowed, the minor cannot raise the child at this age.
The lawyer, in the plea, also stated that the minor has the fundamental right to privacy, personal autonomy, dignity, reproductive choice which are inseparable part of right to life under article 21 of the Constitution.
(With inputs from PTI)