Madras High Court allows a 15 year old girl to terminate pregnancy

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has permitted the termination of pregnancy of a 15-year-old girl from Virudhunagar.The court heard the petition filed by a woman who sought the termination of the pregnancy of her niece.

The girl had lost her father in 2012 and was looked after by her aunt and uncle as her mother was of unsound mind.The 15-year-old, had come in contact with a man, who is identified as a history-sheeter.

It was alleged that he had enticed the girl into a physical relationship and she had become pregnant as a result. The gestation period was 10-11 weeks.

Medical experts opined that continuing the pregnancy may endanger the physical and mental health of the girl and recommended the termination of the pregnancy on medical grounds.Permitting the termination of the pregnancy, Justice G.R. Swaminathan observed that while we do celebrate life, the foremost spiritual prayer is that there should be liberation from the cycle of births and deaths.

The Judge also stated that an unborn child is also a person and the court must put itself in the shoes of the unborn child and objectively decide if coming into this world would be in its best interest.

In this case, the father has shown to be involved in a host of criminal cases, some of which are very grave in nature. And the girl was not in a position to maintain herself.

Though the minor might have accompanied the accused on her own volition, technically what has been committed is an offence under the POCSO Act.

It was further stated that, if a choice is given to the foetus now in the womb of the minor, it would definitely proclaim that it would not wish to be born.If was also stated that the girl had consented for the termination over a video conference.

The court also observed the pregnancy of the minor girl cannot be terminated without the consent, in writing, of her guardian.

The court directed the sample of the foetus be preserved for carrying out a medical test for the purpose of the criminal case against the father. The court ordered the girl to be given to welfare shelter home for 4 weeks.

The court also ordered that a monthly maintenance of ₹5,000 be paid to the girl for 36 months.

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