05 July 2012
Pune: The national body of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has proposed offence-specific punishment for those violating provisions of the PCPNDT (prevention of sex determination test) Act.
At present, the quantum of punishment for any violation under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT) is the same.
"The Act doesn’t categorise offences as major or minor. So, doctors not filling ‘F’ form properly are given the same punishment as someone who conducts a sex determination test or an illegal abortion," said Devendra Shirole, national vice-president of IMA.
Shirole said that about 95% violations registered across the state under PCPNDT Act pertain to incomplete documentation, especially form F.
"Hence, we suggest the Union government to amend the Act so that there is gradation of offences. The punishment should be proportionate to severity of the offence. There should be even more stringent punishment for doctors indulging in sex determination," Shirole said.
Ashok Aadhav, past-national president of IMA said, "The penalty for a radiologist or a sonologist for not wearing a batch mentioning his/ her name and designation at the time of conducting a sonography is the same as the one for a doctor caught red-handed while carrying out a sex determination test."
Anyone who violates the Act in any way is sentenced to three years imprisonment and is required to pay a fine of Rs 10,000. For non-specific violations, the punishment is up to three months imprisonment or a fine up to Rs 1,000 or both. Also, his or her membership of the Maharashtra Medical Council gets cancelled.
However, health activists say there is no need to amend the law. "It is a social Act hence it should work as a deterrent to any kind of violation," said an activist.