In the past, girls used to get married at the age of 14-15 and become mothers by the age of 17, the Gujarat High Court orally observed on Thursday. The remark was made during the hearing of a plea by a 17-year-old girl seeking termination of her 7-month pregnancy.
The minor girl is a rape survivor. Her father learned of her pregnancy only after seven months had passed. He then filed a plea in court, seeking medical termination of the foetus in view of the girl’s age.
As the counsel pressed for medical termination of pregnancy, Justice Samir J Dave observed, “In the older times, it was normal for girls to get married by 14-15 years of age and to have a child before the age of 17…You will not read it, but do read Manusmruti once for this.”
Senior advocate Sikandar Syed, who appeared for the minor girl’s father, appealed before the court for an early hearing as the expected delivery date was August 18. The court, however, made it clear that it may not permit termination of pregnancy if both the foetus and the girl are in good condition.
The court has ordered a medical examination of the girl. The court has also directed the Medical Superintendent of Civil Hospital, Rajkot, to conduct a medical examination of the minor girl through the panel of doctors of the Civil Hospital on an urgent basis.
The court will take a decision on the plea only after the panel of doctors presents its report.
The court has posted the next hearing in the matter on June 15.