Important Ruling by Supreme Court in India

While Barack Obama proclaims White House supportto the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities> to which India is a signatory>, the Indian Supreme Court has delivered a landmark judgment in a unique case of young woman in India. My apologies, but the subject necessitates a lengthy post.


Born in 1991, this woman was abandoned by her family in โ€˜98, when she was just seven years old. After a few years with the Missionaries of Charity, she went to her new home: the state-run Nari Niketan in Chandigarh, India. Though she is 18 years old today, she is said to have the IQ equivalent of a 9 year old. In this state-run institution, she was repeatedly raped by the staff, four of whom have been arrested. All this came to light only when she was shifted from there to another state-run institution Ashreya. The latest unsubstantiated evidence casts further doubt on where exactly she was raped, and on the entire police investigation so far.

When medical investigation revealed that the woman was pregnant, the Chandigarh Administration decided that it was in her best interests to abort the pregnancy. The girl expressed an unambiguous and unequivocal desire to keep the child. Responding to the stateโ€™s petition, the state High Court ordered an immediate termination of pregnancy.

A Delhi based lawyer Suchita Srivastava challenged the order, filing a petition in the Supreme Court. After several days of intense debate in the media as well as the public, the Supreme Court refused to allow termination of pregnancy, and stayed the High Court order.

Advocate Tanu Bedi who had earlier assisted the High Court as amicus curiae>, argued for the woman, against Administration counsel Anupam Gupta. The highlights of the debate in court as reported in the press offer the gist of the arguments and the courtโ€™s judgment.

[h3]The State[/h3] [h3]The Woman[/h3] [h3]The Court[/h3]

I have no way of assessing general public opinion, but in my experience, the opinion regarding the courtโ€™s judgment has been largely negative. See this blog post> by Aditi Ray on Sulekha ( ). Prernaโ€™s post> has a slew of comments criticizing the judgment.( )

The Bioethics Discussion Blog ( ) asks readersโ€™ opinion regarding permanent sterilization of mentally disabled women, and asks if disability rights groups should ever sacrifice the disabled individual> to the groupโ€™s agenda. I also found an interesting student paper at the University of Kentuckyโ€™s Dept. of Philosophy, Health Care Ethics on mentally retarded women and forced contraceptives. Finally, the UNโ€™s Women with Disabilities ( ) page is a gateway to much more information and links.

Mail from: Frank Mulcahy

When: 7/2/2014

Last modified: Friday, 07 February 2014 06:02:58 Valid XHTML 1.1