Woman loses seven-year battle against sex determination tests

Woman loses seven-year battle against sex determination tests

Woman loses seven-year battle against sex determination tests (dna)
ARADHNA WAL | Wed, 30 Sep 2015-07:20am , New Delhi , dna
Not enough: The first woman in India to take her husband and in-laws to court under the act banning sex determination of fetuses loses the case over ‘lacunae in circumstantial evidence

A seven-year struggle for the first woman in India to file a case against her husband and her in-laws under laws banning sex determination of fetuses ended bleakly when, on Tuesday, a trial court in Delhi dismissed her case.

Dr Mitu Khurana, a Delhi-based paediatrician had been fighting to protect her twin daughters and get justice for herself since 2005, from her husband and her in-laws, with an uncooperative police and legal system.

Khurana herself refused to talk to the press, breaking down repeatedly over the phone.

Her lawyer, AN Agarwal, told dna he had no idea what happened in court, as the order seemed to not have taken into account any of their arguments. “They didn’t even take cognisance of the case till 2011 because they didn’t know the law till we explained it word for word,” he added. The accused in the case were her husband, her in-laws, the hospital and the imaging centre that performed the ultrasound, and the radiologist who signed off on it.

The court’s 17-page order dismissed the case based on ‘lacunae’ in circumstantial evidence.

The Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics and Test Act was passed in 1994 and, in 2008, Khurana became the first woman in India to file a case against her husband and in laws under this act. Married in 2004, Khurana became pregnant with twins in April 2005, and, in her complaint to the court, she alleged that her in-laws pressured her continually to determine the sex of the fetuses. When she resisted, they allegedly tricked her into being hospitalised at Jaipur Golden Hospital, a fairly large and renowned facility in north-west Delhi, where they conspired with doctors to get a sex determination test done.

In her complaint she wrote that they fed her cake with egg, which she is allergic to, making her so ill as to need immediate attention.

After the test, which she remained unaware of till her husband drunkenly confessed to her a year later, she was pressured towards an abortion. Alarmed she tried complaining to her local police station, who did not file an FIR as they were not the concerned authority. However, said Agarwal, they did not inform Khurana that she should approached the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO).

“Her husband even gave her an apology in writing, along with an assurance that he would never do such a thing to her again,” said Agarwal.

Only in 2008, through sheer accident, did she come across the medical report that, her complaint read, confirmed to her that the hospital had performed a fetus ultrasound without her consent, instead of the Kidney Urator Bladder ultrasound she need for her allergy to be treated. This time, Agarwal said, she complained to the CDMO, who carried out a raid in the hospital and found merit in her complaint. They found evidence that the crucial Form F, that has to be filled by patients for ultrasound sonography, was not filled properly, as was the case with Khurana.

“Even then, they only took cognisance in 2011 and issued summons to the accused,” said Agarwal.

The state response has been disappointing all along. In 2012, Dr Harsh Mahajan, the director of the imaging centre, and one of the accused in Khurana’s case, in 2012, appointed as a member of a committee, which is set to examine and possibly amend the format of Form F, as he was the president of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association.

Rude reality

Only in 2008, through sheer accident, did she come across the medical report that, her complaint read, confirmed to her that the hospital had performed a fetus ultrasound without her consent, instead of the Kidney Urator Bladder ultrasound she need for her allergy to be treated. This time, Agarwal said, she complained to the CDMO, who carried out a raid in the hospital and found merit in her complaint. They found evidence that the crucial

Form F, that has to be filled by patients for ultrasound sonography, was not filled properly, as was the case with Khurana.

“Even then, they only took cognisance in 2011 and issued summons to the accused,” said Agarwal.

At home too, illegal sex determination is not the only battle Khurana has fought. Abuse, dowry demands, verbal harassment, have all been part of the marital package.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s