A bench of Supreme Court judges, Justices Altamas Kabir and Jasti Chalameshwar, has directed the Chhattisgarh government to produce the Adivasi teacher, Soni Sori, in All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi within one week.
Reacting to descriptions of her continuing severe medical health problems in letters received from her from Raipur jail and from her advocate, the SC expressed deep concern about her medical condition and recommended that she be brought to AIIMS at the earliest for a thorough medical examination and full treatment.
The director of AIIMS has also been directed to constitute a medical board comprising of heads of gynecology, endocrinology and other departments who would examine Sori and treat her, and give their opinion on her condition to the SC by July 10.
Sori is the superintendent of Jabeli Ashram for tribal children in Dantewada. She had been arrested in Delhi on October 4, 2011 for being a suspected Maoist sympathiser.
Having faced police harassment for over a year while functioning in her government-appointed post, she was in Delhi at that time to file a complaint against the Chhattisgarh police and expose them in the media.
Fearing torture at the hands of Chhattisgarh police after her arrest, she had appealed to the Delhi high court to keep her in custody in Delhi and not send her to Chhattisgarh, but her plea was rejected.
Subsequently, she was brutally tortured by the Chhattisgarh police while she was in their custody from October 8-10, 2011; torture that has since been corroborated by an independent medical examination conducted by NRS Hospital and Medical College in Kolkata.
The letters read out in court described her worsening medical condition where she complains of intermittent bleeding, anemia, vaginal discharges, prolapsed uterus, difficulty in standing and walking, variably high blood pressure, numbness in limbs etc.
In these letters, it was also described how the Chhattisgarh jail authorities are withholding her treatment despite court orders, and how she has to suffer their taunts for simply requesting medical treatment.
Taking note of all these, the Supreme Court expressed the need for urgent medical examination and treatment for her. Even though the counsel for state of Chhattisgarh pressed that her treatment should be in a Raipur hospital, the court categorically stated that it can only be done in an independent institution.