NEW DELHI:

The Supreme Court on Saturday pulled up the Gujarat HC for not showing urgency in deciding the abortion plea of a 26-week pregnant woman and posting the hearing 12 days after getting a medical report, which favoured termination. It directed that her medical exam be done once again as the pregnancy is now more than 27 weeks, reports Amit Anand Choudhary.
As time is running out for the Gujarat woman, a bench of Justices B V Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan assembled on Saturday to grant her an urgent hearing and directed that fresh medical examination be conducted during the day and the report be filed by 6 pm on Sunday.
“There must be a sense of urgency in such matters and not a lackadaisical attitude of treating it as any normal case and just adjourning it. We are sorry to make this remark,” the bench observed.
Need urgency in MTP cases: SC to Guj HC
A bench of Justices B V Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan assembled on Saturday to grant a 26-week pregnant woman an urgent hearing and directed that fresh medical examination be conducted during the day and the report be filed by 6 pm on Sunday, so that the case could be taken up as the first item on Monday to decide on the plea.
“There must be a sense of urgency in such matters and not a lackadaisical attitude of treating it as any normal case and just adjourning it. We are sorry to make this remark,” the bench observed.
As the order of the Gujarat high court was not available, the bench asked the SC registry to get in touch with the registrar general of the high court to find out whether the order was uploaded. The court said it cannot decide the case without getting the HC order. The petitioner’s lawyer alleged that she is now four days short of 28 weeks of pregnancy and hence fresh medical examination would be needed to know whether termination of pregnancy was safe. Agreeing with his submission, the bench directed for fresh medical report.
Advocate Shashank Singh, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that she had approached the HC on August 7 and her plea was heard a day after and the medical board, set up on the direction of the HC, submitted its report on August 11 favouring termination of pregnancy. He submitted that the case was listed for hearing after 12-days to August 23 but the case status on HC website now showed that the petition has been rejected and the order has not been uploaded.Recording the sequence of hearing as alleged by the petitioner, the bench observed that every day is crucial in such cases which should be decided at the earliest and disapproved the HC for wasting crucial time. “We find that valuable time has been lost between August 11, when the report was placed before the high court, and the order stating that the matter would stand over to August 23,” it said.


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