The Delhi High Court on Tuesday allowed a 13-year-old girl, a victim of sexual assault, to terminate her 25-week pregnancy in the interest of her life and education.
Justice Prathiba M Singh said a team of doctors at Safdarjung Hospital would conduct the procedure on Wednesday itself.
The court passed the order after the girl and her mother submitted that she did not wish to carry the pregnancy to term.
"This court is of the view that in the interest of the life of the minor girl, her education and keeping in mind the social circumstances, it would be in her interest that the pregnancy is terminated.
"The team of doctors at Safdarjung Hospital would accordingly go ahead with the termination of pregnancy tomorrow itself," Justice Singh said.
The high court said the doctors have assured it that they would give her the best possible care during the process of the termination of her pregnancy.
It said the foetus sample shall be preserved for the process of the criminal case filed as it may be required in future.
Considering that the petitioner is a victim of sexual assault, the court said, the cost of the termination of pregnancy will be borne by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
During the hearing, the court interacted with the team of doctors who examined the minor. The doctors told the judge that there is a risk to the girl's life if she continues with the pregnancy and also if it is terminated.
"She is just a 13-year-old. How will she go on with the pregnancy at this age," the court asked.
It said it is clear to the court that there is risk involved for the girl both in the case of termination of pregnancy and going ahead with it.
According to the girl's plea, she was taken for an ultrasound on January 18 and was found to be 23 weeks and six days pregnant.
The family then went to Safdarjung Hospital, following which an FIR was registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The girl approached the high court as the doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy since the gestation period was 25 weeks, which was beyond the permissible limit of 24 weeks for the termination of pregnancy.