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Supreme Court rebukes Gujarat HC’s decision on termination

Supreme Court
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New Delhi: In a stern rebuke, the Supreme Court criticized the Gujarat High Court’s recent order against a decision made by a higher court, stating that it goes against constitutional principles. The issue arose from a petition by a rape survivor seeking permission to terminate her pregnancy. The Supreme Court’s comments followed the high court’s order on Saturday, which conflicted with the Supreme Court’s scheduled hearing today. Despite the high court’s refusal of relief, the Supreme Court allowed the termination of pregnancy.

The Supreme Court bench, comprised of Justice B V Nagarathna and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, questioned the actions of the Gujarat High Court, emphasizing that no court in India should countermand a ruling from a superior court. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Gujarat government, explained that the Saturday order aimed to rectify a “clerical error” and expressed intentions to request the judge to recall the order.

This situation developed after the Supreme Court flagged the high court’s delay in deciding the rape survivor’s petition, highlighting the loss of “valuable time.” The Supreme Court expressed dissatisfaction with the high court’s attitude and issued notices to the Gujarat government and others, seeking their responses.

The petitioner’s counsel disclosed that the petitioner’s case, heard on August 8, resulted in a medical board being established to assess her pregnancy and health. The medical report suggested terminating the pregnancy. The Supreme Court noted that while the report was incorporated on August 11, the subsequent listing of the matter “strangely” occurred 12 days later, disregarding the urgency of the case.

Addressing the situation, the Supreme Court authorized the termination of pregnancy after a fresh examination. It also stipulated that if the fetus survives the medical procedure, the hospital should provide incubation facilities. Furthermore, the State is to ensure the child’s legal adoption if necessary.

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