‘Anti-sex selection Act unequal to curb foeticide’
Of 61 cases filed against medical practitioners in Delhi under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 18 have been disposed of without subjecting the doctors to any rigorous legal checks and scrutiny. “Disposal” primarily meant the complainants withdrawing the cases.
Sharing her perspective at an interaction here on Wednesday, Bijaylakshmi Nanda, member of the State Supervisory Board, attributed this weak response to improper implementation of the law. “The fact that the Board meets infrequently is a sign of the lack of commitment of the State.” Citing the case of Dr. Mitu Khosla, the first woman complainant under the PC&PNDT Act in Delhi in 2005, Ms. Nanda said she was coerced by her marital family to undergo sex determination during pregnancy. When she refused to do so, she was cheated into undergoing an ultrasound by which the sex determination test was done. Mitu was then pressured to terminate her pregnancy but she left her marital home and moved to her parents’ house. She gave birth to twin daughters. After three years, when her in-laws and husband refused to accept her back with her children, Mitu lodged a complaint under the PC&PNDT Act. But she was disappointed that the Act and the publicity on the issue had done very little to change the mindsets of the implementing authorities. Mitu is still fighting her case. There has been a steep decline in child sex ratio in the country over the last three decades — from 962 in 1981 to 914 in 2011. Since 2001, there has been an overall decrease in the number of children aged 0-6. The decline of the girl child has grown to an unsustainable level during 2001-2011. Especially so in Rajasthan, where it was 1,46, 682, while the male decline in the last decade was a mere 596.
Anuja Vasudeva, Chief District Medical Officer, South Delhi, narrated the efforts the district administration has been making since 2003 to address sex determination and sex selection. “In the last six months, the administration has inspected 44 clinics and filed as many as six cases against leading clinics in Delhi. They are all scheduled for hearing in early 2012.”
Child sex ratio in south and south-west districts of Delhi declined drastically from 888 in 2001 to 878 in 2011 and from 846 to 836 respectively.
Dr. Vasudeva said the results of sex determination tests were given orally by doctors and difficult to prove.