| Photo Credit: VIVEK BENDRE

The Bombay High Court on April 10 asked the State government to provide medical assistance to a 17-year-old pregnant girl. Hospitals had declined to provide treatment to her. The court on Wednesday directed the government of Maharashtra to provide her treatment at JJ Hospital in Mumbai.

Hospitals had refused to treat the minor girl as she had not filed a First Information Report (FIR) at a police station against the person by whom she had become pregnant, in this case another minor, a 17-year-old college student.

Advocate Nigel Quraishy filed the petition, representing the minor girl’s mother. The girl said she had not filed a police complaint against the boy as their relationship had been consensual. “Refusing medical treatment to the girl is a violation of her fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of India. My client did not want to abort the child. Once the baby is born, he or she will be put up for adoption. A shelter home in suburban Andheri had agreed to admit her before and after her delivery for assistance and care,” Mr. Quraishy stated in the plea.

Government pleader Purnima Kantharia submitted before the court and said that since the girl lived in a western suburb of Mumbai, she could seek treatment at the State-run JJ Hospital. However, the minor girl ought to submit an emergency police report stating that she did not wish to pursue a criminal complaint against the boy, Ms. Kantharia said.

The Bench said there was “no harm in submitting a statement to the police”. “Submit the statement in an emergency police report through the advocate by Friday. The girl shall be entitled to seek medical treatment at the JJ Hospital. The dean of the hospital shall take all care to maintain confidentiality of the case and the treatment provided. However, the shelter home identified by the petitioner shall permit the girl to be admitted for care and assistance. All these shall be provided without any insistence of a police complaint. This is a fair order,” Justices G.S. Kulkarni and F.P. Pooniwalla said, disposing of the petition.