The Supreme Court on Monday said that no court can pass an order against a judgement of a superior bench and added that it is against constitutional philosophy, NDTV reported.
The court made the observation while taking strong exception to an order passed by the Gujarat High Court in connection with a plea seeking termination of pregnancy by a woman who had filed a rape complaint, according to Bar and Bench.
Indian law stipulates a ceiling of 24 weeks for the termination of pregnancy for certain special categories, including survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women.
The woman in the current case had approached the Gujarat High Court on August 7 and her case was taken on the next day, during which a medical examination was ordered. The medical report was submitted on August 10 but the next day the court posted the case for hearing on August 23, according to PTI.
But on August 17, the court rejected the woman’s petition, prompting her to approach the Supreme Court, which convened a special bench to hear the case on Saturday.
During Saturday’s hearing, a bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan expressed surprise at the High Court’s decision to postpone the case by 12 days. The judges observed that courts should have a sense of urgency in such cases and not a “lackadaisical attitude”, according to PTI.
The Supreme Court then directed the women to undergo a fresh medical examination and had posted the case for hearing on August 21.
On Monday, as the bench allowed the woman’s plea for termination of the pregnancy, it was informed by lawyers that the Gujarat High Court had convened a suo motu hearing of the same case, shortly after the Supreme Court hearing had ended on Saturday.
The judges were informed that the High Court had passed an order to “clarify” that the adjournment was given to obtain the woman’s view on whether she was willing to give her child to State custody, according to The Hindu.
“We do not appreciate the High Court passing an order as a counterblast to our order,” Justice Nagarathna said, according to Bar and Bench. “What is happening in Gujarat High Court?”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the Gujarat government, claimed that this was due to a clerical error.
“It was a misunderstanding,” he added. “We as the state government will request the judge to recall the order.”
However, the Supreme Court pointed out that the order was passed on Saturday, which is a non-working day for the High Court.