14-year-old rape victim faces uncertain future

14-year-old rape victim faces uncertain future

Gujarat minor underwent abortion after SC intervention

14-year-old rape victim faces uncertain future

The 14-year-old rape survivor who got her 25-week-old foetus terminated on Friday following the Supreme Court’s intervention, is likely to be discharged from the hospital soon in a day or two, said Dr M M Prabhakar, superintendent of Ahmedabad civil hospital.

The big question well-wishers are facing now is her future. “Her physical scars may heal but her moot question is whether society would accept her and if her emotional scars would ever heal,” Hitesh Patel, the social activist who helped the family through their fight for justice, told Deccan Herald.

The family is economically poor. The girl’s father repairs bicycles and mother works as a farm labourer. Of their three children, the girl is the youngest and was good at studies. Her elder sister was mentally and physically challenged. “I remember, when they first came to me, the father was on the verge of breakdown and mulling suicide,” Patel said.

The FIR (IC.R. No - 060/2015) in the case was registered with Talod Police Station on June 29, 2015, under Sections 376 and 328 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections  5(4)(2), 6, 9(e) and 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

According to the FIR, the victim, a student of 10th standard, was raped by Dr Jatin K Mehta whom she had visited for treatment of typhoid some time in February 2015. The doctor, a homeopath, took the victim into his chamber and asked her mother to wait outside. He drew the curtains and allegedly gave her an injection after which she lost her consciousness. When the victim recovered and regained consciousness, she realised that her clothes were in disarray. She was feeling pain in her private parts. When she confronted the doctor, he threatened her with dire consequences if she disclosed the incident to anyone.

The victim remained tight-lipped. But when she missed her menstrual cycles for two-three months, her elders took her for a check up on June 28, 2015. When she was found to be pregnant, she narrated the incident of rape to her elders. The family then lodged an FIR on June 29, 2015, and had the doctor arrested.

Parents of the victim, on July 9, 2015, filed a criminal miscellaneous application in the Court of the Additional Sessions Judge,   Sabarkantha, seeking permission for abortion as the said pregnancy was due to rape and the victim was in no physical or mental state to accept the pregnancy.

The sessions court directed the victim to be examined by a gynaecologist, who on July 10, 2015, opined that the pregnancy was almost 23-weeks and could not be terminated as per provisions in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, unless otherwise the court directs. The sessions court went with the provisions of MTP Act and denied the permission to abort the foetus.

Later, the Gujarat High Court, too, quoted the provisions in the MTP Act and refused the permission for abortion. The father of the victim then approached the apex court, which provided the relief.