Mother of twin daughters fights for justice
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 14
After courting for almost a year when Dr Mitu Khurana, a pediatrician with an MCD hospital, tied nuptial knot with Dr Kamal Khurana in November 2004, like all brides she dreamt of living happily ever after. And she did, but only for few months.
Her pregnancy changed her in-laws, her husband and her life. By June 2005, Mitu was thrown out of the house she had so willingly chosen to spend the rest of her life. Her fault: She was carrying foetus of twin girls in her womb and not willing to abort it.
Five years down the lane, with responsibilities of school-going twin daughters, Mitu is fighting a lone battle to make her husband and his family pay for their sins.
The first woman to file a complaint under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act in Delhi, Mitu has filed a case against her in- laws for forcibly determining the sex of her unborn twins over five years ago. “I never wanted to get the sex determination test and when I categorically refused, my in-laws knowing that I was allergic to eggs gave me a cake made of egg to eat. I was taken to Jaipur Golden Hospital where they took me to the Labour Room and conducted an ultra sonography of the abdomen. When I came back, my in-laws and husband began pressuring me to get an abortion done as I was carrying twin girls. It was then I realised that a fetal ultrasound had been conducted on me,” alleged Mitu.
After the police inaction in the matter, Mitu filed a complaint with the Delhi Appropriate Authority, which specialises in the PC-PNDT-related cases, but its investigating team gave a clean chit to Jaipur Golden Hospital despite its failure to provide the ‘Form F’ of Mitu.
According to the PC-PNDT Act, it is compulsory to maintain the record of Form -F (record of any pre-natal ultrasound done due to any reason) and the contravention of the rule is punishable under Section 23 of the Act. Mitu says, “Even if the hospital misplaced my records, under the law it has to deposit the monthly record of original Form-Fs to the district health authority which it did not in my case. It was a shoddy piece of investigation,” rues Mitu. According to Jitender Sethi, senior advocated and expert in such cases, the missing Form F is a serious breach of law by any medical centre. “Under the provision of the PNDT Act any inaccuracy / deficiency in form F is taken as a direct evidence of sex determination. In this case the entire Form is missing. What other proof do you need? Something is fishy some where,” says Sethi.
Kamal, refused to comment on the allegations made by his wife. However, his lawyer Sarvagya Sharma termed the charges baseless. “The appropriate authority has conducted the investigation and nothing came out of it. The charges are baseless and my client is innocent,” said Sharma.
Mitu has been visiting police stations, court, the Delhi Commission for Women, the National Commission of Woman, Delhi Health Minister and the Union Health Minister to get justice.
She recently met Dr Kiran Walia, Health Minister, Delhi, and has been assured of justice. “I am looking into her case and it seems there are some loopholes in the system, which needs to be plugged,” said Walia when asked about Mitu’s case.
Today, Mitu is one of the most strident activists working towards creating awareness about the PC-PNDT Act. “It seems a long battle but I am not the one to give up. No matter what it takes, I will fight till the end and set an example for the others,” says Mitu with resolve in her eyes.