Wednesday, December 12, 2001, Chandigarh, India




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SC summons 11 Health Secys
Non-compliance of orders on female foeticide

New Delhi, December 11
In a rare order, the Supreme Court today summoned Health Secretaries of 11 major states after finding that its orders for registration of ultrasound clinics and prosecution of those resorting to illegal sex-determination test have not been complied with.

The court directed the Health Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan and West Bengal to be present on January 29 to explain the steps taken by their states to implement the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) (PNDT) Act, 1994.

Expressing serious doubts about the willingness of officers to implement the Act, a three-Judge Bench comprising Mr Justice M.B. Shah, Mr Justice B.N. Agrawal and Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat said: “For non-compliance of the court orders, the Health Secretaries are directed to be present before the court.”

This order was passed by the court while hearing a petition filed by CEHAT, an NGO, alleging that large-scale illegal sex-determination test were taking place in India leading to female foeticide, resulting in abnormal male-female sex ratio.

On the suggestion of Solicitor-General Harish Salve, the Bench also issued a notice to five multinationals — Philips, Symonds, Toshiba, Larsen & Toubro and Wipro GE — manufacturers of ultrasound machines, to give the names and addresses of clinics and persons in India to whom they had sold these machines in the past five years to help the government find out whether these clinics or persons were registered under the Act.

The court said considering the importance of the matter “it would be desirable for the Centre to frame appropriate rules with regard to sale of such machines to unregistered clinics.” PTI
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