What’s happening in the high court of Gujarat
The question, “what’s happening in the high court of Gujarat”, posed by a bench of the Supreme Court on Monday, was an expression of exasperation at the lower court passing an order in a case while the apex court was seized of it.
There were too many reasons for the Supreme Court to make such a strong reference to the conduct of the high court. The case pertained to a petition by a rape survivor seeking permission for medical termination of her pregnancy. Instead of deciding the case at the earliest given the delicate medical condition of the petitioner, the high court had put off it for weeks. The Supreme Court bench which recognised the urgency of the matter held a special sitting on a Saturday to expedite the process and said it will hear the case on Monday.
The high court, immediately after the Supreme Court’s hearing on Saturday, sat in a special session to check if the petitioner was willing to give the child to the state in adoption, suggesting that she go ahead with her pregnancy against her wishes. The court’s action was a counterblast, the Supreme Court said on Monday while deciding in favour of the petitioner. “No court in India can pass an order against a superior court order. It is against constitutional philosophy,” the SC bench observed.
A country makes the Constitution and the laws and entrusts the judiciary with the responsibility of making them work for the people. It also vests the judiciary with sufficient powers and privileges to ensure that its writs run. But if the courts approach laws in a mechanical way, and from the points of view of individual judges, it fails the very purpose of the legal system. It was not long ago that another bench of the apex court remarked that the judgments of the Gujarat high court make interesting reading. No high court is covering itself with glory when the apex court makes such remarks on them. Worse, it denies the people under its jurisdiction the service of the law. This is unacceptable.