Days after a lower court in Chandigarh quashed a 10 year old rape survivor’s plea to abort her 26 week fetus, the Supreme Court has directed a medical panel to examine whether she could be allowed to terminate her unwanted pregnancy and also sought the response of the centre on the issue.

The apex court directed a panel of doctors at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh examine her to “affirm one way or the other” whether her health and that of the baby will be “adversely affected if the pregnancy is allowed to be full term”. The Court also directed Chandigarh Legal Services Authority to ensure compliance of its order and submit the panel’s report in a sealed cover on Wednesday.

The order was issued by a bench comprising of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud on Monday while hearing a plea from a Delhi-based lawyer for permission to let the child abort her pregnancy. The petitioner had claimed that doctors were also of the opinion that the girl’s pelvis wasn’t fully developed and tolerating a full- term pregnancy would be risky.

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The victim had been subjected to repeated rape allegedly by her maternal uncle, and the pregnancy was confirmed by doctors at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Chandigarh.

However, it seems the girl is unconcerned about what lies ahead. Like any child her age, she is watching cartoons and Hindi films on TV, reading stories. At present, she is not going to schools. According to her mother, all she knows is that she is a bit unwell and needs to be home.The girl has been on special diet and undergoes regular check-ups. The girl’s family hails from Nepal and has been residing in servants’ quarters in one of the southern sectors in Chandigarh.

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On July 18, a Chandigarh court refused her permission to abort her fetus on the basis of a GMCH report, which warned that there could be “high chances of physical trauma”, considering the girl’s age and health.

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