In the midst of glaring instances of sex-selective abortions and misuse of sonography machines coming to light recently, the Bombay high court on Thursday observed that the case regarding the absence of an additional public prosecutor (APP) that led to relief being granted to a Solapur doctor appears to be mysterious.
A sessions court had quashed a lower court’s proceedings in 2009 against the doctor charged under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Tests (PCPNDT) Act, 1994.
The state government had earlier informed the court that an inquiry had been initiated against APP Madhusudan Sadaphule for allegedly helping an accused doctor secure acquittal. The state has said the report will be placed before a high-power committee comprising the principal secretary of law and judiciary department, and the advocate general.
A division bench of justices SA Bobde and Mridhula Bhatkar has now called for the report before the next hearing.
An affidavit filed by Sadaphule, however, has refuted the allegations, stating that he had attended the case till September 2008, and was thereafter asked by the district government pleader, Sadhana Patil, to withdraw from the case.
Additional public prosecutor PB Shende had then taken over, the affidavit states, and adds that the additional sessions judge had let-off the doctor, Manashi Shaha, purely on merit, and there was no conclusion made by the judge that the absence of the public prosecutor had led to acquittal.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation seeking action against the APP for remaining absent during court hearings to allegedly help the doctor go scot-free despite being accused of not maintaining proper songoraphy records and carrying out sex-determination tests.
Appearing for the petitioner, Prakash Pise, advocate VP Patil, had earlier argued that the APP of Solapur sessions court had continuously remained absent to help the accused get a discharge from the case. The petition also contended that the government pleader was hand in glove in the matter, as he did not file an appeal after the acquittal.
“All this appears to be mysterious. Somebody is responsible for this default acquittal,” the judges observed on Thursday.
Patil also reproduced the judgment of the Solapur sessions court, which had observed that in spite of calling the additional public prosecutor on various occasions, he remained absent.