THE ESTABLISHMENT OF FAST TRACK SPECIAL COURTS
FOR ERADICATION OF FEMALE FOETICIDE BILL, 2012
Shri Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, M.P.
to eradicate the practice of female foeticide by establishing fast – track special courts to expedite the trials in cases related to practice of sex selection and selective abortion of female foetus and for matters connected therewith.
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty – third Year of the Republic of India as
1. (1) This Act may be called the Establishment of Fast Track Special Courts for Eradication of Female Foeticide Act, 2012.
2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise suggests,
(i) “appropriate Government” means in the case of a State, the Government of that State and in other cases, the Central Government;
(ii) “Fast Track Special Court” means Special Court constituted under clause 5.
(iii) “Pre – Natal Diagnostic Techniques” includes all pre – natal diagnostic procedures and pre – natal diagnostic tests;
(iv) “prescribed” means as prescribed by rules under the Act
3. (i) Whoever causes or does any act or conducts any Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques including ultrasonography, for the purpose of determining the sex of a foetus, commits the offence under the Act.
(iii) Whoever conducts the practice of selective abortion of the female foetus after pre-natal sex determination, shall have committed the offence of female foeticide under the Act.
(iii) Whoever commits any other offence mentioned under the Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 will constitute an offence under this Act.
4. (i) The appropriate Government shall appoint a Special Prosecutor for the purpose of initiating and pursuing court the cases against suspected criminals for the offences mentioned under Clause 3 of the Act.
(ii) The Special Prosecutor may take cognizance of the case, on the information provided to him/her, or a complaint made to him/her or may even take suo motu cognizance of the commission of an offence.
ESTABLISHMENT OF FAST TRACK SPECIAL COURT
5. (i) The appropriate Government shall establish such number of Fast – Track Special Courts to deal exclusively with the matters arising out of crimes or offences committed under the provisions of the Act, as it may deem necessary for carrying out the purposes of this Act.
6. An investigation into the offence and the filing of suit in the Fast Track Special Court established under Clause 5 shall be completed within a period of two months from the cognizance of such offence.
7. The Fast Track Special Court shall submit its judgment within a period of four months subsequent to the completion of presentation of the case by the Special Prosecutor or any other prosecutor hired for the particular case.
Provided that in case the trial cannot be completed and the judgment is not delivered within a period of four months, the Fast Track Special Court shall record reasons therefore and complete the trial within a further period of not more than two months, or such further periods not exceeding two months each, for reasons to be recorded in writing, but not exceeding a total period of one year.
JURISDICTION OF THE FAST TRACK SPECIAL COURT
8. The number of judges who will sit at each Special Court shall be as such as the appropriate Government may prescribe or nominate from time to time.
9. The appropriate Government shall appoint sufficient number of officers and staff to assist the special court in the discharge of its functions on such terms and conditions of service as may be prescribed.
10. The qualification and salary, allowances and other terms and conditions of service of the Judges and Officers shall be such as may be prescribed
11. From the date of commencement of this Act, the jurisdiction, powers and authority in relation to offences committed under this Act shall be exercisable by a special court established under this Act and no other court except the High Court concerned and the Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction, powers or authority in relation to such offences.
12. Every suit or other proceeding pending before any other Court, Tribunal or Authority immediately before the date of commencement of this Act, being a suit or proceeding the cause of action wherein it is based is such that if it had arisen after such establishment of the Special Court within its jurisdiction, shall stand transferred on that date to such Special Court.
Provided that nothing contained in this Clause shall apply to a suit or other proceedings pending in the High Court or the Supreme Court, as the case may be.
13. (i) Whosoever, commits the offence listed under Clause 3 of the Act, shall be punishable with the imprisonment for a term which may extend to four years, and with fine, which may extend to one lakh rupees.
(ii) In case of any subsequent conviction, the punishment of imprisonment may extend to ten years and with fine, which may extend to five lakh rupees.
(iii) Any person who abets or aids the commission of the offence of female foeticide or withholds information crucial to the crime shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years and with fine, which may extend to fifty thousand rupees.
(iv) Whoever contravenes any provisions of the Act, for which no penalty has been provided, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a period of six months, or with fine, which may extend to ten thousand rupees.
(v) Every offence under this Act shall be non-bailable and non compoundable.
POWER TO MAKE RULES
14. The Central Government may, by notification, make rules for the purpose of carrying out the objectives of the Act.
STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS
The practice of female foeticide is prevalent in many parts of our country. According to estimates, foetal sex determination and sex selective determination has grown into a huge industry with doctors making at least Rs 1,000 crore by conducting illegal sex – selection procedure in India. The 2001 census had revealed that for age group 0 to 6, there are 927 girls for every 1000 boys, declining from 947 girls to 1000 boys in the 1991 census. The latest census in 2011 shows that the gap between the number of girls per 1,000 boys has widened to 914. The child sex ratio has dropped to its lowest since independence. Also, there is ample evidence to suggest, that this practice has grown to even among the upper and middle class, and moved to cities and towns. An estimated 15 million girls were wiped out – simply not born – in India over the last decade due to sex selection. And not surprisingly, India ranks 112 out of 134 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index for 2010.
The country had seen the passage of the Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Act (PCPNDT Act) in 1994. In 2001, seven years after legislation, the Supreme Court directed state governments to enforce it. The non implementation of the PCPNDT Act, with minimum number of convictions, has greatly dented the fight against female foeticide.
Therefore it is highly necessary to establish fast track special courts to quickly and efficiently deliver justice and convict those who commit the horrendous crime of female foeticide.
Hence, this Bill.
Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda.