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Rape Victims Have The Right To Choose What To Do In Case Of Pregnancy: In Bombay High Court

Rape has the potential to result in pregnancy. Rape can create complications during and after pregnancy, with potentially harmful effects for both the victim and any children born as a result. Following a rape, medical therapy may include pregnancy testing, prevention, and management. A woman who falls pregnant due to rape may have to decide whether to raise the kid or arrange for adoption. This Judgment is pronounced by SUNIL B.SHUKRE & ANIL L. PANSARE, JJ on 04.02.2022 in SAKSHI D/O SANTOSH DALVI V. THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA.

The petitioner claims that she was the victim of a crime of multiple acts of rape conducted between August 13, 2021, and January 24, 2022, for which Police Station Ramnagar, Wardha has recorded an offense punishable under section 376 (2)(n) of the Indian Penal Code and an investigation is underway.

The petitioner, via her skilled counsel, submitted the following submissions. The petitioner claims that she became pregnant due to several acts of rape and that her pregnancy is now 25-26 weeks long. The petitioner claims that the continuation of such a pregnancy is causing her constant misery and negatively impacts her mental health. She further claims that if this pregnancy culminates in the birth of a child, it would only aggravate the mental harm she has already suffered.

Learned AGP contends that this petition can be granted if the parameters of Section 3 and the requirements of Section 4 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, prescribing the procedure are followed. He relies on the Medical Board’s opinion to back him up.

Section 3(2)(b) and Section 3(4)(a) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 as amended by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, which has been brought into force with effect from 25.03.2021 and also Section 5(A) thereof as amended by Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 are relevant.

The Learned Judge, after examing the provisions, contended that the conditions mentioned above make it clear that if a pregnancy lasts more than 24 weeks and, in the opinion of the Registered Medical Practitioners formed in good faith, the continuation of such pregnancy would involve a risk to the pregnant woman’s life or grave injury to her physical or mental health, the pregnancy can be medically terminated.

If a pregnant woman alleges that her pregnancy was induced by rape, the sorrow produced by the pregnancy is assumed to represent a significant impairment to the pregnant lady’s mental health. Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that the rape caused the pregnancy. Thus, there is already a presumption of agony and profound mental suffering in favor of the petitioner.

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Reviewed by Rangasree

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