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SC tells Bihar to compensate HIV rape victim who became pregnant

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Bihar government to pay Rs 3 lakh compensation to a destitute woman suffering from HIV, who became pregnant after being raped and cannot terminate her pregnancy because of its advanced stage.

“The petitioner (the victim) shall be paid sum of Rs 3 lakh, as she has been a victim of rape,” directed the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar in their order.

The court ordered for compensation under the Bihar government’s victim compensation scheme that has been framed under Section 357A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Section 357A, providing for compensation to victim, states: “Every State Government in co-ordination with the Central Government shall prepare a scheme for providing funds for the purpose of compensation to the victim or his dependents, who have suffered loss or injury as a result of the crime and who require rehabilitation.”

The court said that the compensation of Rs 3 lakh would be paid in four weeks’ time and the compliance of the same would be communicated to the court.

The court said that other aspects of compensation on account of negligence by the authorities in not carrying out the medical termination of pregnancy when the victim had approached them within its 17 weeks would be considered on August 8 when matter would come up for further hearing.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, as amended in 2002, allows abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The victim came to know about her pregnancy during her medical examination early this year. It was then that she decided to terminate the foetus.

The court ordered compensation under victim compensation scheme after a medical board at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here, which had examined the victim, opined that she was in advance stage of pregnancy and termination of the same would be risky for her life.

The destitute victim was raped in Patna when she ventured out of the shelter home, Shanti Kutir. She is in the care of non-governmental organisation Koshish.

The woman, who is also HIV positive, moved the Supreme Court last week after the Patna High Court rejected her plea for medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) in the 17th week of her pregnancy.

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