Chhattisgarh HC to frame guidelines for medico-legal examination of rape survivors

In a petition filed by a survivor of rape and trafficking in the high court of Chhattisgarh, the petitioner pleaded for termination of her pregnancy resulting from rape. Before knocking the doors of the court, she had to go pillar to post for obtaining a medical termination of pregnancy (abortion, MTP). The referral procedure took a lot of her time leading to the maturity of pregnancy. On approaching the court she was allowed an abortion subsequently. The judge was aghast at the procedure of referrals the girls had to go through to ask for an abortion. Noting this he would now take a landmark step of issuing guidelines regarding the Medico Legal Case examination of a rape survivor, to ensure that the MTP process is facilitated in case the victim has conceived as a result of rape and she wishes to get a MTP done. The court has asked the lawyers from the Chhattisgarh Unit of HRLN to make submission for the guideline. It is significant to note that the MTP Act, 1971 does not allow an abortion post 20-week period except in certain conditions. In the present case the court allowed the MTP post the 20 week period, as it was unwanted by the woman, after a panel of doctors examined the feasibility of the termination of pregnancy. He also made an important remark: “The Court's decision should be guided by the interests of the victim alone and not those of stakeholders such as guardians or society in general.”