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‘Anti-sex selection Act unequal to curb foeticide’

December 28, 2011

‘Anti-sex selection Act unequal to curb foeticide’

Of 61 cases filed against medical practitioners in Delhi under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 18 have been disposed of without subjecting the doctors to any rigorous legal checks and scrutiny. “Disposal” primarily meant the complainants withdrawing the cases.

Sharing her perspective at an interaction here on Wednesday, Bijaylakshmi Nanda, member of the State Supervisory Board, attributed this weak response to improper implementation of the law. “The fact that the Board meets infrequently is a sign of the lack of commitment of the State.”

Citing the case of Dr. Mitu Khosla, the first woman complainant under the PC&PNDT Act in Delhi in 2005, Ms. Nanda said she was coerced by her marital family to undergo sex determination during pregnancy. When she refused to do so, she was cheated into undergoing an ultrasound by which the sex determination test was done. Mitu was then pressured to terminate her pregnancy but she left her marital home and moved to her parents’ house. She gave birth to twin daughters. After three years, when her in-laws and husband refused to accept her back with her children, Mitu lodged a complaint under the PC&PNDT Act. But she was disappointed that the Act and the publicity on the issue had done very little to change the mindsets of the implementing authorities. Mitu is still fighting her case.

There has been a steep decline in child sex ratio in the country over the last three decades — from 962 in 1981 to 914 in 2011. Since 2001, there has been an overall decrease in the number of children aged 0-6. The decline of the girl child has grown to an unsustainable level during 2001-2011. Especially so in Rajasthan, where it was 1,46, 682, while the male decline in the last decade was a mere 596.

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