Termination of pregnancy: Issue directions for not disclosing minor's identity, HC to Delhi govt

NewsDrum Desk
23 Jan 2023

New Delhi, Jan 23 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the city government to issue a circular stating that the identity of a minor girl or her family, seeking to terminate her pregnancy, shall not be disclosed by a doctor in his report to the police.

The high court said as per the current position, registered medical practitioners (RMP) are "generally reluctant" to carry out termination of pregnancy without disclosing the identity of the minor and her family, and without lodging a police report.

Justice Prathiba M Singh observed that the minors and their families may be forced to approach non-registered and unqualified medical practitioners, mid-wives and courts to terminate the pregnancies, which could also result in adverse impact on the health of the minor.

The high court relied on a decision passed by the Supreme Court in which RMPs, for the purpose of termination of pregnancy, have been exempted from disclosing the identity and personal details of a minor in the information provided under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to the police.

"Thus, in terms of the order passed by the Supreme Court, the GNCTD (Delhi government) is directed to issue a circular to the effect that in case of any minor along with the family approaching any RMP for termination of a pregnancy, the identity of the minor, guardian or the family as may be deemed to be appropriate shall not be disclosed in the RMPs report to the police.

"The termination shall, however, be carried out in terms of the prevalent procedures. The police shall also ensure that in such cases, the report which is registered does not disclose the identity of the minor or her family," the judge said.

The high court order came while hearing a petition filed by a woman seeking termination of pregnancy of her 14-year-old daughter who had conceived in a consensual relationship with a minor boy.

It said the petition raised an urgent and immediate cause of concern in respect of termination of pregnancies in case of the unfortunate event of the pregnant person being a minor.

The plea urged that the pregnancy be terminated without reporting it to the police as it would lead to social stigma and harassment.

It said that as on January 6, the girl was in her 16th week of pregnancy.

On Monday, the court was informed that the procedure of termination of pregnancy was performed on the minor girl on January 20 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here and she was at her home now.

The court directed AIIMS to preserve the foetus sample, which was collected by the doctors. PTI SKV IJT

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