Abortion and Supreme Court’s Plenary Powers

The recent decision of the Supreme Court wherein it refused to allow a woman to abort her foetus which was 23 weeks old seems to have gone wrong. The mother of the foetus wanted the child to be aborted because the child was suffering from Down’s Syndrome, which is a disability and severely impairs proper intellectual and mental growth of the child.

The Supreme Court came to the decision indicating that its hands were tied and that there was no physical risk to the mother in continuation of the pregnancy. It is respectfully submitted that the Supreme Court seems to have missed the point. The point was not safety of the mother. The woman had moved the Apex Court so that a life which was yet to take birth did not face any difficulty after it was born. The Supreme Court is armed with plenary powers to do complete justice in a matter. Yes, it is true that the Supreme Court cannot digress from the legal substratum of a statute or a policy, but to take a stand that it was bound by letter of the law, does not appear to be a good enough reason. Even uncodified law, law of equity, etc are considered law and the Supreme Court does exercise such power. The present matter required the Supreme Court to view from that perspective.

Rendering justice is a divine function and Courts have to function within the confines of law. Yet all laws cannot contemplate all situations. There are some situations in which Courts need to travel and see beyond the law. And yes, this power cannot be exercised by lower Courts. Hence the Supreme Court decided matters after taking a holistic view of the matter. It is presumed that the Supreme Court has such maturity and legal acumen to render justice in such situations. Hence it is armed with such powers.

Coming back to the case at hand – a child is most loved and cared for by his or her mother. The mother knows what is best for a child. When a mother wants a foetus to be aborted because it has Down’s Syndrome, the Supreme Court ought not have restricted itself to a pedantic and parochial view of the law. It does not mean that a child with Down’s Syndrome is any lesser. A child with Down’s Syndrome has equal right to live and enjoy life as a child without it. But the mother may have her reasons for not being able to accept the fact. She may be faced with horrors of her child being teased as a child or that his/ her growth may be restricted. There may be so many other reasons. Moreover, when the mother is doubtful about the well-being of the child, the Courts ought to respect that.

It does not mean that every abortion case ought to be allowed. But the present matter deserved a better treatment. Moreover, the Courts have allowed abortion beyond 20  weeks (provided in Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act) in the past. So to hold that the Supreme Court’s hands are tied in such matters which require deeper contemplation and consideration, is a little uninspiring.

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Let my country awake!


A society’s robustness and its value system is tested when the most vulnerable in the society is free and can stand up fearlessly against what’s wrong, without any worry of being treated in an unjust manner. It was rather shocking to see that a girl and her father were asked to leave a restaurant, when the girl raised objection at being  harassed, stalked and shamelessly stared at by a drunk man, who was continuously leering at her and other women present at the restaurant.

The video just displayed the sheer apathy, insensitivity and heartlessness of our contemporary society. Instead of asking the rogue, the drunkard, who was staring and harassing the women present at the restaurant, the people present at the restaurant, including the customers, police and the restaurant owner himself, shooed the girl and her father out of the restaurant, on the pretext that how could they ask the person who was drinking to leave!!  Shocking! As such, the victims, who ought to have been protected and supported by the people and authorities present there, were thrown out of the restaurant and the rogue continued sitting there sipping his drink. What country have we turned into or rather are? And then we complain of being talibanised from time to time. It our apathy to such shameless acts that fans the audacity of perpetrators of such heinous and atrocious acts. So in a way, we the society are also responsible for not raising our voices against such acts and it makes me lower my head in shame.

We call ourselves a civilised society.. Well, there a big looming question mark now. A civilised society does not corner someone who is in vulnerable position; it backs someone based on right and wrong, principles of propriety and deals with the situation in a dignified decorum.

The video simply reflects how easily some hooligan can get away with whatever he does, and that too in a public place! Here, the poor girl is seen trying everything possible to stand up and maintain her dignity, which by itself is no mean task. The girl’s father is seen losing his cool, like any father would, because his daughter was a victim of indecency in the open in a public place. The hotel staff, surprisingly is seen applying force on the father and someone, drunk of course, is seen coming forward and trying to assault the girl and the girl’s father. All this while the person who was harassing the girl and other women in the restaurant is coolly sipping his drink and threatening the girl and her father! Yet the people there are seen carrying on as if nothing happened. There was someone who even said “so what” when the girl tried to explain the reason for being upset.

Dear people, the father and the daughter didn’t go to the restaurant expecting such a thing to happen. But it happened. You will also never expect such a thing to ever happen to you, but it may happen. Pause and give it a thought..  and in such a scenario, you would want someone to stand by you and support you, because standing up for what’s right is so difficult and courageous now a days. As Naloplean Bornaparte had remarked, “The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people.”

Our country and society will only be as good as “We the People” make it. Many laws, rules and regulations have been framed and even more, like candle march, demonstrations, etc. has gone into symbolism of empowering women; but in this case, the society clearly failed the girl and her father.

I salute the girl who stood up for herself and for the the dignity of other women present there. I hope strong action will be taken against the hotel authorities, the person who was abusing and harassing the girl and her father and the one who tried to assault the girl and the father. As for the customers, a reflection and representation of our the society – scared, timid and spineless, who were present in whose sight everything happened and who sheepishly let it happen, I hope they will at least come up and stand firmly with the girl and her family, in anyway possible, so that it sends out a message that anyone who stands up for what’s right, is not alone, so that for once the society is a catalyst for change towards something good and not passive to its constituent member. Only then will we have a place safe for everyone, only then can we claim to be civilised.

I would like to end with a few lines of Kabiguru Rabindranath Thakur, which echo and resound with a deafening silence of disappointment due to unfulfilled aspirations of our forefathers for a free India:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,

Into the heaven of freedom my father,

Let my country awake!

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Mercedes Hit & Run Case – Speedy Justice still a utopian dream

Image result for delayed justice

The footage of a young professional being flung to death is still fresh in our minds. It was depressing to watch it as news channels played it in loop. It brings to the fore how we take road safety for granted and hand over the keys of such high-speed cars to our spoiled brats. One such irresponsible action cost a young man his life.
Mercedes hit-and-run case: Accused juvenile to be tried as an adult

The video is right Continue reading

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Error of Supreme Court in dismissing PIL pertaining to Right to End of Life Care

Image result for right to end of life care

“To give meaning and content to the word ‘life’ in Article 21, it has been construed as life with human dignity.”

~ Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Smt. Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab

(1996) 2 SCC 648

An important issue was recently in consideration before the Supreme Court of India in a Public Interest Litigation (“PIL’) Girish Gokhale & Ors. V. Union of India[1]. The Supreme Court was seized with the issue whether or not right to refuse medical treatment, pharmaceutical as well as invasive, is a facet of right to life conferred under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The Petitioners, who were lawyers, doctors and experts in the field of “End of life care”, argued that right to refuse treatment is an important aspect of right to life. An important argument raised was that Continue reading

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Law – The Noble Profession 


Law, it is believed, is a noble profession. Do not get me wrong – I would love to believe that as well. However, due to some people, the whole profession gets a bad name.

Lawyers are supposed to be an intellectual class Continue reading

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Whether landowners are consumers under Consumer Protection Act in builders’ collaboration agreements

incomplete-building

The present article seeks to discuss the problems faced by landowners, who enter into agreements mostly called “Collaboration Agreements”, with builders, whereby in lieu of constructing building as per specifications of the landowner on the landowner’s vacant land, the builders promise to retain a “builder’s share” and give back to the owner an “owner’s share”. Further, this article shall also Continue reading

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