Crl. Misc. No.M-10163 of 2014 1
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
Crl. Misc. No.M-10163 of 2014
Date of Decision: 16.09.2014
Dr. Tejinder Pal Singh Multani ….Petitioner
State of Punjab and another ….Respondents
BEFORE :- HON’BLE MRS. JUSTICE DAYA CHAUDHARY
Present:- Mr. K.S. Dadwal, Advocate
for the petitioner.
Mr. P.S. Ghuman, Addl. A.G., Punjab
for the respondent-State.
DAYA CHAUDHARY, J.
The present petition has been filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C
for quashing of FIR No.78 dated 15.08.2012 under Section 23 of Pre
Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1996 (here-in-after
referred to as ‘the PNDT Act’) and Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 registered
at Police Station Bholath, District Kapurthala as well as all subsequent
proceedings arising therefrom.
Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that as per Section
17 of the PNDT Act, the Appropriate Authority has been prescribed but
none of the Authority has put the Court into motion and as such, in view of
provisions of Section 28 of the PNDT Act, the taking of cognizance of
offence under the PNDT Act is totally contrary to the provisions of the Act.
Learned counsel also submits that the Appropriate Authority or authorized
officer is to give notice of not less than 15 days in the manner prescribed.
The powers to search and seize the record is also provided under Section
30 of the PNDT Act. The trial Court has not taken into consideration the
specific bar contained in Section 28 of the PNDT Act and by relying upon
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the judgment in case Dr. Preetinder Kaur and others vs The State of
Punjab and others, decided on 10.02.2010, the charges have been
framed and the continuation of the proceedings against the petitioner is not
only misuse of process of the Court but also no prima facie offence is made
out against the petitioner as the petitioner has not conducted any test at the
pre natal stage. Said judgment is not applicable in view of the facts and
circumstances of the present case. Learned counsel further submits that
the FIR as well as charge sheet and other proceedings arising therefrom
are liable to be quashed being without any jurisdiction and especially
keeping in view the provisions as enshrined under Section 28 of the PNDT
Act as no power is there with the police to investigate the matter and the
cognizance has to be taken by the Magistrate only on the basis of
complaint filed before the appropriate authority. Learned counsel further
submits that the case of the present petitioner is squarely covered by the
judgment of Gujrat High Court in case SUO MOTU vs State of Gujarat
passed in Criminal Reference No.4 of 2008 with Criminal Reference
No.3 of 2008.
Learned counsel for the respondent-State has fairly admitted
the submissions made by learned counsel for the petitioner.
Heard the arguments of learned counsel for the parties and
have also gone through the file.
For consideration of the controversy in the case in hand,
Section 28 of the PNDT Act is reproduced as under :-
“28. Cognizance of offences.
1. No court shall take cognizance of an offence under
this Act except on a complaint made by –
(a) the Appropriate Authority concerned, or any officer
authorized in this behalf by the Central Government or
State Government, as the case may be, or the
Crl. Misc. No.M-10163 of 2014 3
Appropriate Authority ; or
(b) person who has given notice of not less than fifteen
days in the manner prescribed, to the Appropriate
Authority, of the alleged offence and of his intention to
make a complaint to the court.
Explanation.- For the purpose of this clause, “person”
includes a social organization.
2. No court other than that of a Metropolitan Magistrate
or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class shall try any
offence punishable under this Act.
3. Where a complaint has been made under clause (b)
of sub section (1), the court may, on demand by such
person, direct the Appropriate Authority to make
available copies of the relevant records in its possession
to such person.”
From perusal of Section 28 of the PNDT Act, it is clear that the
Appropriate Authority or the authorized officer is to give notice of not less
than 15 days in the manner prescribed to the appropriate authority.
Section 30 of the PNDT Act provides that in case, the
Appropriate Authority has reasons to believe that an offence under this Act
has been or is being committed at any Genetic Counselling Centre,
Genetic Laboratory, Genetic Clinic or any other place, such Authority or any
officer authorized in this behalf may, subject to such Rules as applicable,
enter and search at all reasonable times with such assistance, if any, and
in case, the Authority or officer authorized so consider necessary and
thereafter he can seize and seal the same if reasons are there. It may
furnish evidence for the commission of an offence punishable under the
Section 30 of the PNDT Act is reproduced as under :-
“30. Power to search and seize records, etc. –
1. If the Appropriate Authority has reason to believe
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that an offence under this Act has been or is being
committed at any Genetic Counseling Centre, Genetic
Laboratory or Genetic Clinic or any other place, such
Authority or any officer authorized thereof in this behalf
may, subject to such rules as may be prescribed, enter
and search at all reasonable times with such
assistance, if any, as such authority or officer considers
necessary, such Genetic Counseling Centre, Genetic
Laboratory or Genetic Clinic or any other place and
examine any record, register, document, book,
pamphlet, advertisement or any other material object
found therein and seize and seal the same if such
Authority or officer has reason to believe that it may
furnish evidence of the commission of an offence
punishable under this Act.
2. The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure,
1973 (2 of 1974) relating to searches and seizures
shall, so far as may be, apply to every search or
seizure made under this Act.”
It is clear from the provisions of Section 28 of the PNDT Act
that no FIR could have been registered against the petitioner.
Under Section 2(a) of the PNDT Act, the “Appropriate
Authority” has been defined as under :-
“2. Definition : In this Act, unless the context
otherwise requires :
(a) “Appropriate Authority” means the Appropriate
Authority appointed under Section 17.”
From the perusal of definition of “Appropriate Authority”, it is
clear that reference has been made to Section 17 of the PNDT Act, which
is reproduced as under :-
“17. Appropriate Authority and Advisory Committee.-
1. The Central Government shall appoint, by Notification
in the Official Gazette, one or more Appropriate
Authorities for each of the Union Territories for the
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purposes of this Act.
2. The State Government shall appoint, by notification in
the Official Gazette, one or more Appropriate Authorities
for the whole or part of the State for the purposes of this
Act having regard to the intensity of the problem of prenatal
sex determination leading to female foeticide.
PNDT Act, 1994 and Amendments.
3. The officers appointed as Appropriate Authorities
under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be.-
(a) when appointed for the whole of the State or the Union
Territory, consisting of the following three members.
(i)an officer of or above the rank of the Joint Director of
Health and Family Welfare – Chairperson ;
(ii)an eminent woman representing women’s organization ;
(iii)an officer of Law Department of the State or the Union
Territory concerned :
Provided that it shall be the duty of the State or the Union
Territory concerned to constitute multimember State or
Union Territory level Appropriate Authority within three
months of the coming into force of the Pre-natal Diagnostic
Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse)
Amendment Act, 2002:
Provided further that any vacancy occurring therein shall be
filled within three months of that occurrence.
(b)when appointed for any part of the State or the Union
Territory, of such other rank as the State Government or the
Central Government, as the case may be, may deem fit.
4. the Appropriate Authority shall have the following
functions, namely :-
(a) to grant, suspend or cancel registration of a Genetic
Counseling Centre, Genetic Laboratory or Genetic
(b) to enforce standards prescribed for the Genetic
Counseling Centre, Genetic Laboratory and Genetic
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(c) to investigate complaints of breach of the provisions
of this Act or the rules made thereunder and take
(d) to seek and consider the advice of the Advisory
Committee, constituted under sub-section (5), on
application for registration and on complaints for
suspension or cancellation of registration ;
(e) to take appropriate legal action against the use of
any sex selection technique by any person at any place,
suo motu or brought to its notice and also to initiate
independent investigations in such matter;
(f) to create public awareness against the practice of sex
selection or pre-natal determination of sex;
(g) to supervise the implementation of the provisions of
the Act and rules;
(h) to recommend to the CSB and State Boards
modifications required in the rules in accordance with
changes in technology or social conditions ;
(i) to take action on the recommendations of the
Advisory Committee made after investigation of
complaint for suspension or cancellation of registration.
5. The Central Government or the State Government, as
the case may be, shall constitute an Advisory
Committee for each Appropriate Authority to aid and
advise the Appropriate Authority in the discharge of its
functions, and shall appoint one of the members of the
Advisory Committee to be its Chairman.
6. The Advisory Committee shall consist of –
(a) three medical experts from amongst gynaecologists,
obstetricians, paediatricians and medical geneticists;
(b) one legal expert ;
(c) one officer to represent the department dealing with
information and publicity of the State Government or the
Union Territory, as the case may be;
(d) three eminent social workers of whom not less than
one shall be from amongst representatives of women’s
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7. No person who has been associated with the use or
promotion of pre-natal diagnostic technique for
determination of sex or sex selection shall be appointed
as a member of the Advisory Committee.
8. The Advisory Committee may meet as and when it
thinks fit or on the request of the Appropriate Authority
for consideration of any application for registration or
any complaint for suspension or cancellation of
registration and to give advice thereon:
Provided that the period intervening between any two
meetings shall not exceed the prescribed period.
9. The terms and conditions subject to which a person
may be appointed to the Advisory Committee and the
procedure to be followed by such Committee in the
discharge of its functions shall be such as may be
17A. Powers of Appropriate Authorities. –
The Appropriate Authority shall have the powers in
respect of the following matters, namely :-
(a)summoning of any person who is in possession of
any information relating to violation of the provisions of
this Act or the rules made thereunder;
(b)production of any document or material object
relating to clause (a);
(c)issuing search warrant for any place suspected to be
indulging in sex selection techniques or pre-natal sex
(d)any other matter which may be prescribed.”
It is clear from the facts as mentioned above that in the
present case, the cognizance of offence has been taken contrary to the
provisions of the PNDT Act. Under Section 17 of the PNDT Act, the
Authorities have been mentioned and prescribed but none of the Authority
has put the Court into motion and as such, the proceedings are contrary to
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the provisions of PNDT Act.
As per provisions of Section 28 of the PNDT Act that there is
specific bar to lodge FIR. The petitioner has brought this fact to the notice
of the police authorities but in spite of that, the FIR has been registered
and even challan has been filed on the basis of which, the charges have
also been framed.
This controversy was before the Gujarat High Court in Suo
Moto’s case (supra), wherein, it was held that as per clause (a) of subsection
(1) of Section 28 of the PNDT Act, only the complaint can be filed
by an officer, who is authorised in that behalf by the Central Government,
the State Government or the Appropriate Authority, besides the Appropriate
Authority itself. The power to delegate and authorise an officer to make a
complaint is conferred upon all the three authorities under the provisions of
section 28, and, therefore, a Court can take cognizance of an offence
under the Act on a complaint made by any officer authorised in that behalf
by the Appropriate Authority.
In the present case also, the FIR and other proceedings are
contrary to the provisions of PNDT Act as there is an express legal bar and
still the FIR has been lodged and on the basis of said FIR, the charges
have been framed against the petitioner. The trial Court has failed to take
into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case and especially,
the legal provisions which debars the police from further proceedings with
the matter as the police cannot take cognizance without the complaint filed
by the Appropriate Authority.
Accordingly, the present petition is allowed and the FIR No.78
dated 15.08.2012 registered under Section 23 of Pre Conception and Pre
Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1996 and Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
at Police Station Bholath, District Kapurthala as well as order dated
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20.02.2014 passed by the Judicial Magistrate Ist Class, Kapurthala framing
the charge and all other subsequent proceedings arising therefrom are
quashed qua the present petitioner.
However, the prescribed authority is at liberty to initiate
proceedings as per law provided under the PNDT Act.