Delhi court finds husband not guilty of illegal gender check on foetuses
An Indian husband has been found not guilty of illegally determining the sex of two foetuses and then pressuring his wife to abort when he realised she was carrying twin girls.
Dr Mitu Khurana, a Delhi paediatrician, filed charges against her husband Dr Kamal Khurana, his mother and another family member in 2008, alleging they had conspired with hospital staff to carry out a non-consensual gender check on the foetuses.
Foetal gender determination is banned in India under the 1994 Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act. Dr Mitu Khurana is the first Indian woman to bring proceedings against her husband and family under the Act.
The Khurana’s were married in 2004 and Dr Mitu Khurana became pregnant in 2005. She alleged that her husband and his family pressured her to determine the sex of her babies. When she refused, she claimed that they deliberately triggered her allergy to eggs by feeding her a cake made with eggs so she would be submitted to hospital. The illegal gender test supposedly took place while she was in hospital while she thought she was having an ultrasound because of her allergic reaction.
She claimed that once her husband knew she was carrying girls, he pressured her to have an abortion. She refused and carried the twins to term, but was then shunned by her husband and his family and was subjected to domestic violence.
In 2008, she said that she found a hospital document, dated 2005, which was a “foetal ultrasound and indicative of the gender of the foetuses”. She claimed that the document proved she had been the victim of a non-consensual procedure.
Despite the seven year court battle, her husband Dr Kamal Khurana was found not guilty by a Delhi court. The court order said there were “certain lacunae [gaps] in circumstantial evidence on which (the) complainant is relying”.
Dr Kamal Khurana’s lawyer called the verdict “well reasoned”. He said the complaint was a “misuse of the law to settle a score with in-laws”. He questioned why it had taken his client’s wife so long to register her complaint, especially as she was a doctor.