A pregnant rape victim must be told about her legal rights, the Supreme Court said on Friday as it issued notice to the Centre on a plea seeking setting up of medical boards in states and union territories to decide cases of unwanted pregnancies of beyond 20 weeks for termination.
“If a woman is raped and is pregnant, she must be told about her legal rights,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said, seeking the Centre’s response in four weeks.
The top court, which was hearing a petition filed by a 14-year-old girl from Haryana seeking permission to terminate her 26-week pregnancy, took up the larger issue of setting up of medical boards in every state and UT after victim’s counsel VK Biju decided not to seek permission to terminate her pregnancy due to medical opinion to the contrary.
She alleged that she was raped by her cousin which led to the unwanted pregnancy. She has moved the top court in view of Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, which prohibits termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks.
Earlier, besides seeking nod to abort the foetus of the victim, the petition sought framing of guidelines on appointment of medical boards “to decide cases of unwanted pregnancies that has crossed 20 weeks” in every state and UT for termination of pregnancy. The top court had earlier issued notices to the Centre and Haryana Government on her plea.On Friday, Biju said he was not seeking the permission to abort now, but sought setting up of medical boards in states saying, “When I was drafting this petition, I had seen the pain of the parents (of the girl).”
“We will issue notice on this (prayer two). We will record your statement that you are not pressing prayer 1 (termination of pregnancy of the girl),” the Bench said.
Notice to Centre over regular CBI Director
The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre on a PIL filed by an NGO, Common Cause, seeking appointment of a regular CBI Director by the selection committee of the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Leader of Opposition.