Doctor summoned for conducting abortion without girl's consent

Doctor summoned for conducting abortion without girl's consent
New Delhi: A gynaecologist has landed herself in the dock for performing an abortion on an unmarried date rape victim without her written consent and at the behest of her boyfriend whom she accused later of sexually assaulting her.

The court decided to put city gynaecologist Dr Nisha Jain on trial for illegally terminating the girl's pregnancy after it realised that the girl had given no written consent to the doctor for her abortion.

"Any doctor carrying out any abortion in utter disregard to the intent and object laid down under the Special Legislation (Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971) must be prepared to face legal consequences," Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said, while summoning Dr Jain to stand trial.

Pointing out that a pregnancy can be terminated only under special circumstances as provided under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, Justice Lau said medical fraternity too should be aware of consequences of violating this Act.

"It is desirable that efforts are made to increase the overall awareness of the existing abortion laws and policies of the government so as to come down heavily on the doctors running abortion clinics in utter disregard of the existing laws," she said.

The court decided to array Dr Nisha Jain, head of Saroj Hospital, who also ran a Surgical Maternity and Child Care Centre, as accused for terminating the pregnancy of the rape victim on September 30, 2008.

Finding Dr Jain on the wrong side of the law, the court said that the manner in which the doctor "twisted" procedures to "help" the accused who had allegedly raped the victim leaves much to be desired.

In its order, the court pointed out that the consent form for termination of pregnancy did not carry the signature of the victim.

The judge noted that Dr Jain's act of carrying the abortion of the victim without her consent has also resulted in destruction of evidence punishable under Indian Penal Code.

The court also sought appropriate action on the part of the Secretary, Delhi Medical Council, Principal Secretary (Health) Delhi Government and the Deputy Commissioner who is competent authority under the Prenatal Determination Test Act in this regard by directing to send its order to raise awareness in public.

"No material has been placed on record by her (Dr Jain) to show either that the continuance of the pregnancy was causing risk or injury to the life of the mother or to the unborn child," said the court, while spelling out the special circumstances when pregnancy could be legally terminated.

"When asked by the court as to the special circumstances on account of which the doctor conducted the abortion upon the girl, she replied that the parties had told her that it was an unwanted pregnancy," the judge said.

The court said that taking of the consent of the women in such cases was necessary as it involved the risk to their life as well.

"The provisions of obtaining the consent of an adult are not a mere formality. In case, if the girl is more than eighteen years and is unmarried, her written consent is necessary just to assure that the clinic performing the abortion has informed her of all her options. She has also been counselled of all the procedures, its risks and to care for herself after she has chosen the abortion with her free will which has not happened in the present case," the judge said.

The FIR in the case was registered with Mahendra Park police station this year on a complaint by the victim alleging that she was raped over a period by accused Pankaj Mittal, who also used to blackmail her on the basis of intimate pictures taken by him on a mobile.

The victim also accused him of terminating her pregnancy without her willingness.

The case was at the stage of recording evidence when the court came to know about the alleged violation of law of the doctor and decided to summon her as accused in this case.