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5 yrs on, doctor who got in-laws booked for pre-natal sex determination awaits justice

December 15, 2009

5 yrs on, doctor who got in-laws booked for pre-natal sex determination awaits justice

Dr Mitu Khurana had hoped for justice when she filed a case against her in-laws for forcibly determining the sex of her unborn twins over five years ago.

The first woman to file a complaint under the PC-PNDT Act in Delhi, Mitu is still fighting her lonely battle. Separated from her husband, the paediatrician in an MCD hospital has been raising her two daughters all by herself.

“The legal battles are proving to be very expensive since my daughters have started going to school. I do not get maintenance for them. But I am going to fight till the end,” said Mitu.

Mitu was thrown out of her husband’s house because she had spoken out against pre-natal sex determination. She brought charges of domestic violence and dowry harassment too against her in-laws. No verdict has come in these two cases either.

Complaints filed at the Delhi Commission of Women, National Commission for Women and the Delhi Appropriate Authority, which specialises in Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) cases, yielded no result, said Mitu. According to her, the inquiry reports by the women’s commission have discrepancies. “I want them to reinvestigate the case. They have not questioned a single person properly and submitted a report saying my complaints are unfounded. There is evidence through an application filed under the Right to Information Act that sex determination was conducted, but the PC-PNDT Cell has conducted a shoddy investigation, which is affecting the outcome of my case,” she added.

Officials in the PC-PNDT Cell, however, denied the charge. They said they had done their investigation and submitted a report and that there was nothing else they could do. While her husband Dr Kamal Khurana refused to comment, his lawyer Sarvagya Sharma said: “The PC-PNDT case was investigated and nothing was found against my client. Only one case under domestic violence is pending. My client has tried to settle this issue but she does not want to cooperate.”

Meetings with ministers and the chief minister have not helped her case either. “At every step, the judges, lawyers, policemen and people from the women’s commissions advised me to settle the differences with my husband. I have been moving in circles for all these years and the case is going nowhere. I just want my in-laws punished for trying to harm my children. I want justice before I lose faith in this system,” she added.

Dr Khurana met Health Minister Kiran Walia last week, with a request to expedite action in the cases. “I am looking at all the papers regarding this case to help her (Mitu) in the best possible way. There are loopholes in the system, which needs to be plugged. It is my job to get things done. We need to fix responsibility and hold officers accountable,” Walia told Newsline.

Mitu is one of the most vociferous activists working towards creating awareness about the PC-PNDT Act. While the first such case was registered in Delhi when a court took cognisance of a newspaper report, Mitu was the first woman in the Capital to lodge an FIR under the PC-PNDT Act. “I have a selfish interest in this Act being implemented properly. If it is not done today, my daughters will face the same torture when they get married,” she said.

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