Hyderabad: Justice Vijaysen Reddy of the Telangana High Court allowed a writ petition filed for the termination of pregnancy of a 16-year-old. The girl was sexually exploited by a member of her extended family without her consent. She was threatened and emotionally abused with dire consequences and the accused also threatened to kill her mother. Later when she was diagnosed with a foetus of 25 weeks, a complaint was booked against the accused. However, the doctors did not terminate the pregnancy of the petitioner observing that the petitioner was beyond gestation period and needs permission as established by law.
The Medical Board constituted under court directions opined that the petitioner case is fit for termination of pregnancy. Justice Vijaysen Reddy observed that the petitioner’s pregnancy would cause mental and physical stress and anguish. He also observed that a woman has the right to make a choice to carry pregnancy, and at the same time, it is her right not to carry pregnancy. The court opined that the life of the foetus or the to-be born child cannot be placed on a higher pedestal than that of the life of the petitioner. “The dignity, self-respect, healthy living (mental or physical) etc are facets of right to life and personal liberty enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which also include right of a woman to make a choice of pregnancy and terminate pregnancy, in case, where pregnancy is caused by rape or sexual abuse or for that matter unplanned pregnancy, subject to reasonable restrictions under law”, Justice Vinod said.
The court directed surgery by a senior gynaecologist. It also directed the hospital to collect the tissue and blood samples of the foetus to conduct DNA and other tests and the investigating officer shall forward the same to a forensic laboratory for DNA and other relevant medical tests for the purpose of trial against the accused. Further, the Legal Services Authority, High Court, is directed to render necessary assistance to the petitioner and ensure that compensation, as provided under law, is adequately granted.
Covid medical expenses
Justice Vijaysen Reddy directed the Medical and Family Welfare Department, Telangana, to submit its response on the issue pertaining to the ceiling limit of Rs 1 lakh for Covid medical expenses of government employees. Mohammed Yousuf Sulaiman, a retired government employee who could not get immediate admission at a government hospital for his wife, filed the case challenging the ceiling limit. According to GO 74 of 2005 and GO 175 of 2007, the government employees in service or retired and their dependants were entitled to reimbursement as per the Central Government Health Scheme rates.
The January 2021 circular by the department fixing the Covid reimbursement ceiling as Rs 1 lakh was assailed by the petitioner before the court. The petitioner pointed out that failing to get immediate admission at Gandhi hospital, he got his wife admitted at a private hospital and incurred an amount of Rs 7 lakh for treatment. As a retired employee, the petitioner was unable to bear the expenses, he said. The circular fixing a ceiling limit is against the government orders, he contended. The judge questioned the government that when the state had only 2,000 beds for Covid treatment where should the government employees go? Senior Counsel L Ravichander recalled an incident about how a doctor of Fever Hospital failed to get admission for Covid treatment and suffered unbearable expenditures at private hospitals. Directing the department to file its counter, the judge adjourned the case to October 28.
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