Decide sex determination trials in six months: SC

TNN | Mar 5, 2013, 05.59 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday fast-tracked trial in sex-determination offences under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition on Sex-Selection) Act and held both the Centre and states guilty of lax implementation of the law leading to skewed sex-ratio in most parts of the country.

“The decline in the female child ratio all over the country leads to an irresistible conclusion that the practice of eliminating female fetus by the use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques is widely prevalent in this country,” said a bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra while giving an 11-point directions for strict-implementation of the PNDT Act.

The bench said: “It should be clearly spelt out that female feticide is the worst type of dehumanization of the human race”. It also found that perpetrators of female feticide also belonged to educated middle class as there had been no effective supervision or follow up action to achieve the object and purpose of the Act.

The bench said pre-natal diagnostic centres, genetic clinics, genetic counseling centres, genetic laboratories, ultrasound clinics, and imaging centres have mushroomed in all parts of the country urgently needing monitoring of their activities to prevent female feticide.

“Unfortunately, their functioning is not being properly monitored or supervised by the authorities under the Act or to find out whether they are misusing the pre-natal diagnostic techniques for determination of s ex of fetus leading to feticide,” the court said while issuing the directions in a PIL by NGO, Voluntary Health Association of Punjab.

“Seldom are the ultrasound machines used for such sex-determination in violation of the provisions of Act seized and, even if seized, they are being released to the violators of the law only to repeat the crime. Hardly few cases end in conviction. Cases booked under the Act are pending disposal for several years in many courts and nobody takes any interest in their disposal and hence, seldom, those cases end in conviction and sentences, a fact well-known to the violators of law,” Justices Radhakrishnan and Misra said.

The directions include:

* Trial courts should dispose of all pending cases under the Act within six months.

* Machines seized for violation of PNDT Act to be sold off; no sale of such machines to unregistered clinics

* Map all registered and unregistered ultra-sound clinics within three months

* Boards for supervision of implementation of the Act to meet every six months

* All clinics must maintain record of pregnant women visiting them


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