Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A disturbing judgement

A 19-year-old mentally challenged woman whose mental age is described as nine was raped by an attendant in a shelter home in Chandigarh. A few weeks later, when she developed what has been reported as "some complications" it was realised that she was carrying. And the authorites approached the High Court to have her pregnancy terminated. The High Court was in favour of terminating the pregnancy.

Then some activists on the woman's behalf approached the Supreme Court to have a stay on the High Court order. They wanted the woman to give birth to a child. The Court was told that the woman was an orphan, and as she had no blood relative she should be allowed to keep the baby. The woman too, it was said, wanted to have the baby. The Supreme Court has stated that the woman be allowed to carry the child full term.

As a woman I am horrified.

First, the woman who is bearing the child needs looking after herself as she has the mental age of a nine year old child. The State has been found to be deficient in its care of the woman. One of the attendants of the home where she was kept raped her.

Now the judges want the woman to carry full term, bring into the world a baby who would neither have a father, nor a mother who could look after it. Who would then take care of the baby? The State that has been found to be lacking?

Second, the pregnancy follows a rape. Now, I do not know of any woman who would want to carry a child of a man who has raped her. One must realise that her feelings for the foetus have yet to be developed. But her feelings for the rapist exist. And these would be unhappy and torturous. Usually if matters are in a woman's hand, she gets rid of such a foetus at the first opportunity.

It is said the woman wants the baby. In this case, the woman is not in a position to decide what is in her best interest. She does not know was bringing up a child entails.  The decision has to be made for the woman.

Third, are the persons who are so vociferously fighting for the woman to carry the child, prepared to help the mother look after it? Are they ready to assume the responsibility for the child till he or she attains adulthood? If not, then they have no business to advocate that she carry the child full term. Why saddle the woman, who is herself a child, with the task of looking after a baby?

The court is reported to have cast aside the objection to the prospect of the mentally challenged girl delivering the baby when she is not able to take care of herself. “The nature has its own methodology,” it said. Now what does that mean? That nature by some magic is going to take care of the baby? I found this statement reported in the media about what the judges said, very horrifying.
 --------------------------------------
 THREE YEARS LATER.........
Three years later the court pronounces its judgement on the rapist. It was found that the girl was gangraped. What makes it worse is that the people who the state had appointed to take care of abandoned and orphaned children had raped the girl in their care. And there were two women who allowed the men to exploit the girl. Horrifying!
The link to the article as it appeared in Indian Express

6 comments:

srinath said...

a very well written post... i agree with u totally on this issue... even i felt very strongly against the court verdict... can anything further be done to protect the woman??? since the verdict pronounced is already frm the SUPREME COURT OF INDIA....

Shree Venkatram said...

We could write a letter to the bench voicing our regret at the judgement. That would call for mobilising people. I wonder how many of us feel so strongly about the issue. I know of one 82 year old woman who was aghast at the judgement!

sriram balasubramanian said...

hi mr. Venkatram...
i have been reading your blog for many days...there is no need for me to open a newspaper...this is my first comment on your blog...actually after reading this article, I asked my friends and family members regarding this issue...but none are aware of including me..(if i haven't read your blog)..But after I put up this issue to them, they kept arguing and whole place got agitated...so I feel, these kind of social problems should reach everybody..then people will take their own actions....Sorry if i have commented something wrong...

Shree Venkatram said...

Sriram, Welcome to my blog.
Thank you for taking the issue to your friends and family. Did they agree with the judgement that the woman should go ahead with the baby, or did they feel the foetus should be aborted?
I hope you will keep coming back and posting more comments.

srinath said...

@ shree : even the CJI is a human and he also prone to make mistakes... If mobilizing people is the only way and people are not ready to come forward and act responsible enough... a very sad situation i must say.... words fail me...

Shree Venkatram said...

I have done a little survey of people around me and find they are very aghast at the judgement. Even on the net you find people have reacted negatively to it. Now after the Supreme Court has pronounced what can be done? I can only think of a mobilising effort. We need person with some legal knowledge to tell us how to go forward on the legal front.
Yes, you are right when you say even CJI can make mistakes. I feel the immediate consequences of this judgement is bringing into this world a baby who has neither a father or a mother who can look after it the way a baby needs.

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