M A I N   N E W S

SC notice to Centre, states on unborn daughters
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 18
In the backdrop of the recent recovery of a large number of foetuses from a well behind a private clinic in Patiala, the Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre and all states on a petition by a private organisation from Punjab seeking action on the issue.

A Bench comprising Mr Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Mr Justice D.K. Jain, which took serious note of the crime against still born girl child, directed the Union Ministries of Health, Law and Women and Child Development and all states and Union Territories to submit their replies.

The issue was brought before the court by the Voluntary Health Association of Punjab (VHAP) in public interest litigation (PIL), seeking removal of private doctors from the advisory committees in each state to check the pre-natal sex determination. The petitioner had sought a direction to the Medical Council of India to make it mandatory for all private doctors to bring to the notice of the authorities any incident or any matter coming before them for determination of sex.

The states should be directed to constitute special investigation teams to look into the cases of female foeticide, set up special court and appoint special prosecutors to conduct trial in these cases.

It also sought that the authorities should not permit sale of ultrasound machines without proper verification of antecedents of the buyers with particular watch on private gynaecologists to ensure that they were not misused.

The VHAP pointed out that though legislation preventing sex-determination had been passed 12 years ago in 1994, but it had virtually failed to prevent the crime.

During the past 10 years, these states had registered nearly 50 per cent decline in the sex ratio with states like Punjab having 850 females per 1000. The overall sex ratio in the country has fallen from 969 in 1981 to 927 in 2001, the petitioner pointed out.




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