HC refuses to intervene in gender test case against SRK
The Bombay High Court today refused to interfere in the date set by a local court to hear a complaint filed against actor Shahrukh Khan and his wife Gauri for allegedly conducting pre-birth sex determination tests of their surrogate son AbRam.
Justice Sadhana Jadhav was hearing a petition filed by social activist Varsha Deshpande for early hearing of the complaint filed by her in a magistrate court seeking action against Shahrukh, Gauri and others under the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act.
According to Deshpande, the metropolitan magistrate on August 8, issued notice to the respondents and posted the matter for hearing on September 12.
Aggrieved, Deshpande approached the High Court seeking early hearing and disposal of the case.
"The Supreme Court in a judgment had said that all cases under the PCPNDT Act should be heard and decided within six months. By giving such a long date there are chances of destruction or construction of reports," advocate Uday Warunjikar argued.
The High Court today, however, said it was not inclined to interefere in the matter at this stage and adjourned the petition for hearing after three weeks.
"We know that directions for speedy hearing are given in such case in larger public interest. So that such complaints do not remain pending. But let us first see what the magistrate does on the next date of hearing," the court said.
The court also directed the activist to serve notice on Dr Firuza Parikh of Jaslok hospital where the couple had their surrogate child. They already have two children – Aryan and Suhana.
"She (Parikh) might be the most important person in this matter," Justice Jadhav said.
Deshpande, in her complaint had alleged that the child's gender had been determined before birth, thereby violating the sections of the Act.
The 47-year-old actor's third child was born to a surrogate mother recently at a private hospital here, the complaint said and claimed that gender testing was banned under the Act.
The complainant alleged that the civic officials had failed to take action against the couple and hence she moved the magistrate's court with a fresh complaint.
Reportedly, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had sent a team to SRK's residence earlier to ascertain the facts over alleged pre-natal gender tests. The team, however, was turned away and SRK had rubbished all the speculations.