Data indicates poor enforcement of law to check female foeticide

Only 143 persons have been convicted till date under PC&PNDT Act that bans sex determination test

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Tuesday 10 December 2013

While the child sex ratio in the country is dipping, not much seems to have been done to check sex determination tests and selective abortions. Data for the whole country shows only 143 people have been punished for conducting sex determination tests since the enactment of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC&PNDT) Act in 1996. This number was disclosed by Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in a written reply submitted to Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

The state that has punished maximum number of offenders under the Act is  Maharashtra with 52 convictions, followed by Haryana (30), Punjab (26) and Rajasthan (22). States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Uttarakhand have not punished a single person till date. Gujarat has convicted only four persons. These are the poor performing states as far as maintaining healthy sex ratio is concerned.

According to Census 2011, the Child Sex Ratio (0-6 years) has declined to 919 girls per 1,000 boys against 927 girls per 1,000 boys recorded in the 2001 Census. This indicates prevalence of pre-natal sex determination and consequent abortion of female foetuses, the minister said. Apart from conviction, other actions taken against violators also do not reflect commitment on part of authorities to bring offenders to book.

A total of 1,833 cases have been registered so far across the country, including Rajasthan (562), Maharashtra (527), Punjab (124), Gujarat (114), Haryana (90) and Uttar Pradesh (42) under the Act.

The number of medical licences of doctors cancelled till date stands at 65 for the whole country. The maximum number of such cancellations have taken place in Maharashtra (37), followed by Rajasthan which has cancelled 21 licences so far.

Maharashtra has seized total 662 ultrasound machine machines (unregistered/used for illegal sex determination tests) while Rajasthan has seized 371 machines so far. A total 1,242 machines have been seized across the country, informed the Union health minister.

The government of India, in order to make the law more stringent, has amended various provisions of PC&PNDT Rules. These pertain to sealing, seizure and confiscation of unregistered ultra-sound machines and punishment for unregistered clinics, regulation of use of portable ultrasound machine only within the registered premises besides restricting medical practitioners from conducting ultrasonography at maximum of two ultrasound clinics within a district.

The government has been exhorting states and Union Territories to strictly implement PC&PNDT Act, the minister said.


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