Apex court allows mentally challenged woman to bear child

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed a mentally challenged woman, who was raped by some unscrupulous men while staying in a Nari Niketan, to bear her child.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said the woman would be allowed to bear the child and instructed the Chandigarh administration to take care of the baby.
Suchita Srivastava had challenged the ruling of Punjab and Haryana High Court that directed the authorities to abort the child as the woman might not be able to take care of the baby.

Three voluntary organisations – National Trust for the Welfare of Autism and Multiple Disabilities, Disabled Rights Group and Parivar – appealed to the court to take care of the child.

However, the advocate appearing for Chandigarh administration submitted that the woman was not in a condition to care for her child and should be allowed to go for abortion.

The 20-year-old woman, who lives in government’s Nari Niketan at Chandigarh, was allegedly raped by the guards of the home. The woman, whose brain is like that of a 9-year-old child, is pregnant for the past 20 weeks. After 20th week of pregnancy it is illegal to abort a foetus as the per provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.
According to the Act, the woman has to give her consent for the termination of pregnancy and she is not in a position to understand the intricacies of pregnancy and law, submitted the government advocate.

Following the detection of pregnancy, the Chandigarh administration had earlier come to the conclusion that in her best interest, the woman, now approaching the critical 20th week of pregnancy, needed to undergo an abortion.

The administration had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a nod for the decision. On July 17, the High Court gave the administration the go-ahead to have the pregnancy medically terminated.

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