Delhi High Court Orders Transfer of 14-Year-Old Girl to Children’s Home for Safe Delivery Against Her Refusal of Medical Termination of Pregnancy

In a recent ruling, the Delhi High Court has directed the transfer of a 14-year-old girl to a children’s home to ensure the safe delivery of her child, as she vehemently opposed undergoing a medical termination of pregnancy. The court’s decision comes after careful consideration of the girl’s wishes and the legal framework surrounding the termination of pregnancies involving minors.

Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, presiding over the case, issued the order to immediately shift the petitioner from the ‘Sakhi One-Stop Centre’ at the IHBAS Hospital Complex in Shahdara, Delhi, to the Children’s Home for Girls-IV, Nirmal Chayya, New Delhi. The decision aligns with the Follow-up Order dated May 31, 2023, made by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), which mandates the provision of necessary care and protection in accordance with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015.

During the proceedings, it was established that the petitioner expressed her unwavering desire to carry the pregnancy to full term and subsequently put the child up for adoption. This stance was further supported by her 22-year-old brother, who served as the available guardian. The Medical Board, which assessed the case, provided a detailed report, indicating that the pregnancy was at approximately 26-27 weeks of gestation. The petitioner was duly counseled regarding the medical implications of a second-trimester termination, including the potential need for a hysterectomy.

The court clarified that under the existing legal framework, the consent of the “woman” is the determining factor for a medical termination of pregnancy. However, given that the “woman” in this case is a 14-year-old minor, the law requires the consent of her “guardian” as defined in Section 2(a) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The sole guardian presently available is her 22-year-old brother, who explicitly expressed his and the petitioner’s opposition to terminating the pregnancy.

In light of these circumstances, the Delhi High Court issued the necessary directions to ensure the petitioner’s well-being and safeguard the future of both the minor girl and her unborn child.

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