A Delhi-based paediatrician is at the centre of a landmark lawsuit alleging that her ex-husband had forced her to illegally test the gender of her unborn twin daughters.
She claims that her in-laws pressured her to abort her unborn kids.
Though her case was rejected at the Delhi High Court on Monday, the paediatrician has decided to move it to the Supreme Court.
Pre-natal sex determination attracts a penalty of Rs 50,000 and/or three- year jail term. (image for representation only)
Dr Mitu Khurana, purportedly the first Indian woman to initiate proceedings against her former spouse and his relatives under a law that bans foetal sex determination, said she will approach the Supreme Court after the High Court turned down her petition.
“I have been fighting for over 10 years,” said the doctor, who gave birth to the girls in 2005, and subsequently left her husband, allegedly due to their abusive relationship.
“I have lost my health, my profession, money, mental peace… If I give up today, it will harm several women who have not been able to raise a voice till now. They are being tortured day in and day out for giving birth to a girl child.”
After losing the case in the trial court, Dr Khurana approached the High Court, but it rejected her petition on the grounds of “limitation”.
“Whenever an offence is committed, there is a particular period within which you have to report about it. In this case the limitation period is three years,” explained her lawyer, Sanjay Parikh.
According to the 2011 census, India has only 918 girls for every 1,000 boys below six years of age.
The United Nations said two years ago that the dwindling number of girls in the country had reached “emergency proportions” and was contributing to violent sex crimes against women.
Khurana filed a case against her husband, Dr Kamal Khurana, his mother and another member of his family, for allegedly colluding with a hospital official to determine the gender of her foetuses while she was pregnant in 2004, and then forcing her to undergo an abortion.
She says that she learnt about the offence only in 2008 and immediately approached the authorities, seeking justice under The Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics and Test Act passed in 1994.
“Our submission said – ‘a crime against a woman is a crime against the society’, it should be treated as a continuous offence,” said Parikh.
The Act provides for a maximum punishment of three-year jail term and financial penalty of up to Rs 50,000.
The paediatrician became a known face after appearing on actor Aamir Khan’s talk show Satyamev Jayate, in an episode themed on female foeticide.
“I will continue to fight because when my daughters were born and I had held them in my arms for the first time – I had promised them that they will not be forced to kill their own daughters. I had promised to hand them over a better world and a more just society,” she said.
“I do not want to punctuate the spirit of mothers who are going through similar turmoil. I am their voice,” said Dr Khurana.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3558226/My-daughters-not-forced-kill-daughters-Delhi-doctor-continues-battle-against-foetal-sex-determination-test.html#ixzz475dgQ200
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