SC criticises Guj HC's delayed handling of pregnant rape survivor's case
A bench comprising Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan voiced their concern over the passage of time, with the High Court initially adjourning the case
In a weekend session, the Supreme Court conveyed its reservations about the handling of a crucial case by the Gujarat High Court which pertains to a 26-week pregnant rape survivor seeking legal permission for the termination of her pregnancy filed under the case identifier.
A bench comprising Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan voiced their concern over the passage of time, with the High Court initially adjourning the case.
Justice Nagarathna questioned the rationale behind the case being deferred to August 23, emphasising the gravity of the situation.
"There has to be a sense of urgency in such cases and not have a lackadaisical attitude," Justice Nagarathna remarked, reflecting the urgency that such cases demand.
This sentiment found resonance in the Supreme Court's formal order, which highlighted the unexplained delay in listing the case.
"Strangely, the High Court listed the case 12 days later (after receiving the medical report) on August 23, losing sight of the fact that every day of delay was crucial and held great significance."
The order continued by noting the petitioner's request for pregnancy termination while being 26 weeks pregnant when she approached the court.
The passage of time from August 8 to the subsequent listing date was considered detrimental to the case's proceedings. Addressing the issue at hand, the Supreme Court solicited the response of the Gujarat government and called for a fresh medical examination of the rape survivor.
The case was slated for further hearing on August 21, with the top court advocating a swift medical evaluation for a comprehensive assessment.
"Since valuable time is lost, a fresh report may be sought from the medical board, Bharauch. We direct the petitioner to appear before KMCRI hospital for being examined once again, and the latest status report may be submitted before this court by Sunday evening 6 p.m. The same shall be put up before this court on Monday (August 21)," the official order articulated.
The Supreme Court's attention was drawn to this matter via an appeal contesting a Gujarat High Court order issued on August 17.
The High Court had declined the petitioner's request for the termination of her 26-week-old pregnancy, prompting the appeal filed by advocate Vishal Arun Mishra.