PNDT Act: None convicted in state last year
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 14
Punjab, almost at the bottom of the list of states on gender ratio, recorded no case of conviction under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act in 2011. This shows that either the state has suddenly turned a new leaf or it completely failed to implement the law even while parents methodically went about killing their unborn daughters to satiate their need for sons.
Whatever is the reason, the fact was recorded by the Centre today in response to a query in the Rajya Sabha on the number of convictions under the Act in the past three years in different states. Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad admitted the fact that the gender ratio at birth, or SRB as it is called, continued to be disturbingly low. It reflected that the Act had not been implemented as effectively as was desirable.
Punjab recorded zero case, Haryana seven, Madhya Pradesh 11 and Kerala one case under the PC and PNDT Act, taking the total of conviction cases in 2011 to 19. As per the information given by Azad to nominated member HK Dua, the rest of the 31 states in the country drew a big wide blank.
Haryana, another rogue state as far as intolerance toward the girl child is concerned, recorded a more heartening seven cases of conviction. It shows that the enforcement agencies there have perhaps been more successful in building cases against culprits.
However, there has been an improvement in the number of registered cases under the Act by the states. As many as 436 cases were registered against the violation of the Act in the past two years as against only 789 cases between 1995 and 2010. The countrywide rate of conviction also increased from four in 2009 to seven in 2010 to 19 in 2011.
But the fact that only 19 cases of conviction were recorded perhaps means that a majority of culprits got away despite the strengthening of the Act enacted for prohibiting sex selection before or after conception, regulation of pre-natal diagnostic techniques and prevention of their misuse for sex determination leading to female foeticide.
The continued preference for boys saw the gender ratio in India dropping to 914 females against 1,000 males, the lowest since Independence, in the 2011 Census. Punjab and Haryana, which have traditionally seen low sex ratio, recorded an increasing trend, but still remain at the bottom of the dubious list with 846 and 830 female children, respectively, against per 1000 male child. Sources say even though there have been claims of improvement in the gender ratio profile in the two states, there is this new unsavoury trend emerging of couples not going in for a second child once they have a son.
Azad said recent initiatives undertaken by the government to strengthen effective implementation of the Act include amendment of Rule 11 (2) of the PC and PNDT Rules, 1996, which provide for confiscation of unregistered machines and further punishment to organisations which fail to register themselves under the Act.