A woman who is at an advanced stage of pregnancy cannot be forced to appear in a court, a Delhi court has said.
It came to the help of an expectant mother against whom a non-bailable warrant was issued by a lower court for not appearing in a dowry harassment case.
Additional Sessions Judge RK Gauba expressed the court's displeasure over the lower court judge not exempting the six-month pregnant woman from personally appearing in criminal proceedings.
The court also took exception to the lower court putting a condition as -- either accept the charge or appear before it -- on the lawyer representing the woman seeking exemption from appearance.
"The law does not permit the court to put conditions of the kind indicated in the order. The requirement of the law for appearance of the accused is subject to just exceptions which include physical impossibility," ASJ Gauba said.
"This requirement (of appearance) cannot be used to arm-twist the accused or her counsel to accept the charge. I find the language used to be rather loose," the court said.
Granting relief to 25-year-old Meenakshi, who is facing charges in a dowry case, the ASJ set aside the lower court's order and exempted her from personal appearance in the case.
During the proceedings in the lower court, the woman sought its permission for non-appearance as she was at the advanced stage of pregnancy.
But the lower court issued non-bailable warrant against her. She filed a revision petition before the sessions court challenging the order to issue NBW against her.
"If it was confirmed by proper documents in support, as has been done through the documents in the revision petition indicating the petitioner to be under ante-natal care since January 13 this year, the exemption deserved to be granted," the court said.