09 November 2011
Crusade against gender determination
Thirty cases in which doctors accused of violating the Pre–Conception and Pre–natal Diagnostic Tests (PCPNDT) Act were acquitted, may once again be fought in the court of law. The state will now appeal in the higher courts to fight these cases again, so that it acts as a deterrent for doctors who perform illegal sex determination tests and violate the norms.
“We are appealing further in these 30 cases because we want doctors to think twice before violating the Act,” said Dr Suresh Gupta, additional director of the state’s Family Welfare Bureau. He said that if not all, then at least a few cases may turn around in the higher courts.
“Many of these cases resulted in acquittal because the court thought that the machines were seized for minor errors too,” he added.
The state government feels that any kind of violation – be it minor or major – has to be treated with equal severity. “Minor errors like sonography centres not maintaining records should also be treated with same severity as a person performing the illegal tests. This is the only way to curb offences against the girl child,” added Gupta.
Since 2004, there were a total of 158 cases across the state, of which only 47 were decided by the court. While three doctors of the 47 faced rigorous imprisonment, 14 doctors were slapped a fine of merely Rs 1,000. The remaining 30 doctors were acquitted. Cases of the remaining 111 doctors are still on. While the backlog of the cases still remains, the state government spruced up its fight against female foeticide and launched the ‘Save the girl child’ campaign in June this year.
“This year we have sealed 352 machines so far. But only 122 cases have been filed and the rest of the cases are in the process of being filed,” said Gupta, adding that the state is also stressing that the PCPNDT cases must be decided in a year’s time as per the High Court judgment.
Meanwhile, doctors are upset as only a few of them have managed to get their machines back, while the rest are still waiting to hear from the court. “We have failed to understand how and why only a few doctors have managed to get their sonography machines released while the rest are still battling their cases with the appropriate authority,” said Dr Jignesh Thakker, general secretary, Indian Radiological and Imaging Association. “The law should be same for all,” he added.FOR THE RECORD
- 158 total number of cases across the state
- 47cases decided by the court so far
- 3 doctors given severe sentence
- 14doctors let off with a fine of merely Rs 1,000.
- 30doctors acquitted. 111 cases still pending in state cours