Supreme Court Criticizes Gujarat HC for ‘Counterblast Order’

LI Network

Published on: 23 August 2023 at 17:36 IST

The Supreme Court has rebuked a Single Judge Bench of the Gujarat High Court for issuing a ‘counterblast order‘ in violation of the Court’s previous order.

The apex court allowed a rape survivor to terminate her pregnancy after considering a medical committee’s report, which indicated no adverse effects on her health or child-bearing capacity.

The petitioner had approached the Supreme Court after the Gujarat High Court rejected her application, and the apex court had directed a fresh medical report.

During the proceedings, the Supreme Court expressed strong disapproval of the High Court’s conduct.

Justice B.V. Nagarathna observed that such counterblast orders could not be issued against the Supreme Court’s orders.

Justice Ujjal Bhuyan criticized the approach taken by the High Court, stating that it went against constitutional philosophy and questioned how an unjust condition could be perpetuated on the victim.

The Supreme Court considered the fresh medical report and decided to permit the appellant to terminate her pregnancy.

However, the Court noted that a subsequent order had been passed by the High Court on a Saturday after the Supreme Court’s previous order. The bench criticized the manner in which the Single Judge bench of the High Court handled the matter.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta tried to clarify the situation, but the Supreme Court refused to accept justifications for the counterblast order.

The Bench refrained from making adverse remarks about the Single Judge’s order but directed the appellant to be present at the hospital for the procedure.

The Supreme Court highlighted the importance of reproductive choice and personal liberty in its order, acknowledging the stress and trauma that unwanted pregnancies, particularly after sexual assault or abuse, can cause.

The Court’s decision emphasized the fundamental right to personal bodily integrity.

The medical board submitted its report on August 11, 2023, and the High Court listed the case for August 23, 2023. The Supreme Court criticized the High Court’s delay in listing the urgent matter.

Related Post