New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the capital to set up a medical board to examine whether a 26-week-old-foetus with HIV positive can be aborted and the woman, a victim of sexual assault is saved.
A three-judge Bench of Justices Dipak Misran, A.M. Khanwilkar and M.M. Shantanagouder asked the Medical Board to conduct the examination on the woman from Patna latest by May 6 and submit a report on May 8.
In a brief order the Bench said, “the present case exposits a situation of its own kind. We are concerned with saving a life of a destitute woman. As we are inclined to think that a woman, who has already become a destitute being sexually assaulted and suffering from a serious medical ailment, not to go through further sufferings. The quintessential purpose of life, be it a man or a woman, is the dignity of life and all efforts are to be made to sustain it.”
Earlier, counsel Vrinda Grover appearing for the woman informed the court that the Patna High Court had rejected the plea for termination of pregnancy based on the report of doctors that it would not be safe.
Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta and P.S. Narasimha agreed with the court that every effort must be made to save the woman and for this purpose another medical opinion is necessary. The petitioner, a woman, aged about 35 years, sought termination of the pregnancy on the ground that after being sexually assaulted, she was given rehabilitation in the Women Rehabilitation Centre, namely, 'Shanti Kutir', Mahila Punarwas Kendra, Patliputra, Patna, Bihar, where her pregnancy was discovered.
It has also been found that she is HIV Positive. She expressed desire to terminate the pregnancy on March 4, 2017.
Thereafter, she was examined by the Patna Medical College and Hospital. As nothing fruitful happened in the said college, the petitioner was compelled to move the Patna HC.
The High Court took up the matter for hearing and, after referring to certain decisions of this Court, came to hold that the Medical Board report has stated that it would be unsafe to the life of the petitioner and further there is compelling State's responsibility to keep the child alive.
The Bench asked the counsel to assist the Court on the issue and also to have some discussion with the doctors and posted the matter for further hearing on May 8....