Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Thursday rejected plea of a 28-week pregnant gang-rape survivor who sought permission for abortion. The court rejected her abortion plea on the grounds that the law does not permit abortion beyond 20-weeks pregnancy.
However, the court directed the collector to ensure that all medical care be provided to the woman for a safe delivery and that the child is not abandoned.
The 24-year old married woman was abducted and detained for over six months. The victim argued that when she escaped the ‘months of torture', she was already conceived and hence the delay in seeking court's permission to terminate her pregnancy was evident.
The woman, a native of Botad district, lives with her husband and two kids in Surat.
Turning down her plea, a single bench of Justice JB Pardiwala observed, "She will have to bravely go ahead with the pregnancy and when time comes, she should deliver the child. I am conscious of the fact that it is easy for a judge to say so in his judgment because it is ultimately the applicant (rape survivor) who will have to face the hard days ahead, but howsoever harsh one may find the law, yet it remains the law and one has to respect it. She must understand that termination at this stage will put her own life in peril."
The bench added that the aspect of rape is a subject of matter of investigation.
"I am conscious of the fact that for a woman to carry a child in her womb as a result of conception through an act of rape is not only extremely traumatic for her but humiliating, frightening and psychologically devastating and as a human being, more particularly in the Indian society she becomes an object of scorn and ostracization. This is very unfortunate ... However, if labour is induced for carrying out termination of pregnancy, it could result in a live birth of a new born as the maturity of fetus is 28 weeks," it further said.
The rape survivor said that she accepts the court order and will abide by it. "I and my two kids are living with my husband and in-laws. But nobody wanted this child and therefore we approached the high court as last resort. But when the court believes that abortion is not possible, we will abide by the order," she said.