Delhi HC permits minor to undergo MTP despite father's refusal to sign consent form
Judge Sharma stated that it would be completely inappropriate and improper to enable the underage victim to become pregnant and nurture the kid given her age and physical and mental inadequacy
The Delhi High Court has granted a 16-year-old girl permission to undergo Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) after her father, who had previously given his approval for the minor's abortion, failed to show up and sign the consent form.
The girl is a purported victim of sexual assault.
A single-judge bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma ruled that the superintendent of the Nirmal Chhaya Complex, where the girl has been living since October of last year, can sign the consent form due to the urgency of the situation and the fact that there are only a few days left before the legal limit of 24 weeks for medical termination of pregnancy is reached.
The Child Welfare Committee designated the superintendent as the girl's guardian (CWC).
Judge Sharma stated that it would be completely inappropriate and improper to enable the underage victim to become pregnant and nurture the kid given her age and physical and mental inadequacy.
He said: "This would only be leading her to trauma for the entire life and miseries in all manners, be it emotional, physical and mental, given the social, financial and other factors that are associated with raising a child."
The high court said that as a constitutional court, it had a responsibility to consider the victim's best interests.
"This court considers that in view of the consent given by the victim, the same cannot be frustrated only on the account of the irresponsible act of her father who after giving the consent is not coming forward to fulfil the formalities. The reasons for this act of the father can later be seen and inquired into by the investigation officer during the investigation of the case," it said.
The High Court ordered the Lady Hardinge Medical College Medical Superintendent and the medical board to make sure that the medical procedure is carried out by qualified doctors in compliance with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and other rules, regulations, and guidelines provided.
The court said that preserving the tissue of the foetus will help for DNA identification and all other purposes as there is a criminal case registered following the sexual assault.
"The state shall also bear all expenses necessary for the termination of pregnancy of the petitioner, her medicines, food etc. The state shall also bear all expenses for further care during recovery," it said.
"The Delhi High Court Legal Service Committee shall be the nodal agency to coordinate with all the other agencies and present a plan before this court for the rehabilitation and well being of the child," the court added.
The court was hearing a petition for custody of the minor submitted by her father on her behalf.
The medical board was established after the victim's pregnancy was revealed to the court while the case was still pending.
Thereafter, the minor and her father told the high court that they were ready for medical termination of pregnancy without any fear, force and coercion and the father also gave his unconditional consent for the procedure in the best interests of the child.
The father also agreed for the procedure because it was in the child's best interests.
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