This article has been written by Ayush Tiwari, a student of Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA. This article elaborates upon the fundamentals of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Determination) Act (PCPNDT). Along with its importance, features, and shortcomings, the article covers all the highlights of the Act with the help of recent developments.
This article has been published by Sneha Mahawar.
Sex selection has been going on for a while. All areas of India and all walks of life are affected by patriarchal traditions that date back thousands of years. The census of 1991 revealed that there were significantly fewer females than boys. The child sex ratio shows that the decline in the female birthrate is concerning. There have been results of research that demonstrated that even in the twenty-first century, boys were still preferred over girls. There was a need for a comprehensive law making gender testing illegal in the Indian States since the practice of determining the sex of foetuses as a result of technological advances had compelled the government to establish legislation so that female feticide could be prohibited or regulated. Between 0 and 6 years old, there were 919 females for every 1000 boys in 2011, down from 927 in 2001 and 945 in 1991.
Background of the PCPNDT Act
The Indian government approved the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act (PNDT) in 1994, and it went into force on January 1st, 1996. However, preconception sex selection has become feasible due to regular scientific advancements. The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act was renamed in 2003 when changes were made to the Act to incorporate this. Policymakers changed the Act’s title to guarantee that sex selection is prohibited both before and after conception as a result of the country’s declining child sex ratio.
Need for the PCPNDT Act
A son has always been favoured above a daughter due to cultural norms and patrilineal line of succession regarding property rights. As a result, families had a propensity to keep having children until a male child was born, which exacerbated India’s overpopulation problems.
This was the standard up until the 1990s when the development of ultrasound technology made prenatal sex determination a common procedure. This resulted in the growth of thousands of crores of businesses where doctors perform selective abortions for a fee.
Female foeticide has been encouraged in a variety of ways due to social prejudice against women and a preference for boys, which has shifted the country’s gender balance in favour of males. Consequently, it was necessary to pass the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Determination) Act, 2003 (PCPNDT) legislation.
Features of the PCPNDT Act
The PCPNDT statute defines sex selection as the process of determining the foetus’s sex and removing it if it is of undesirable sex.
Prenatal diagnostic techniques in unauthorised units, sex selection on a man or woman able to conduct Pre-natal Diagnostics tests for purposes other than those specified in the Act, and the selling, distribution, supply, renting, etc. of an ultrasound machine or other equipment capable of detecting the sex of the foetus are all prohibited under this Act. The principal features of the Act are:
- The Act forbids sex discrimination both before and after conception.
- By limiting their usage to detecting genetic abnormalities, metabolic diseases, chromosomal abnormalities, certain congenital deformities, hemoglobinopathies, and sex-related illnesses, it controls the use of pre-natal diagnostic methods including ultrasonography and amniocentesis.
- The sex of the foetus will not be determined by any test, including ultrasonography, at any laboratory, centre, or clinic.
- No one, not even the person performing the legal process, is allowed to express the sex of the foetus to the expectant mother or her family by words, signs, or any other means.
- Under Section 22 of the Act, anyone who places a notice, circular, label, wrapper, or other document advertising pre-natal and pre-conception sex determination services, or publicises through interior or other media in digital or print form, or participates in any noticeable representation made by hoarding, wall painting, signal, light, sound, smoke, or gas, can be sentenced to up to three years imprisonment and fined Rs. 10,000.
Aim behind the enforcement of the PCPNDT Act
- To make sure that all district-level promotion programmes for girl children are put into action.
- Through community involvement, the PNDT Act’s implementation is being monitored and evaluated.
- Ensure that implementing agencies are held accountable by participating in community monitoring of the Act’s implementation.
- Using Anganwadi personnel and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) to keep track of pregnancies, Medical Termination of Pregnancies (MTP), and birth registration.
- Locating Act offenders by carrying out thorough audits of the form “F” filled out for the clinic’s pregnant patients.
- Create an annual plan for the country, state, and district.
An overview of the PCPNDT Act
Prenatal diagnostic practices
Such practices are defined under Section 2(i) of the PCPNDT Act, 1994.
It refers to all medical operations, including:
- Obtaining or removing samples of chorionic villi, amniotic fluid, taking a blood sample, a tissue sample, or any other bodily fluid and sending it to a genetic laboratory or a genetic clinic for carrying out any prenatal diagnosis for sex selection before or following conception,
Prenatal diagnostic procedures are defined in Section 2(k) as follows:
It refers to an ultrasound or any examination or study of a pregnant woman’s blood, amniotic fluid, chorionic villi, tissues, or fluids to look for chromosomal abnormalities, congenital defects, hemoglobinopathies, or sex-related illnesses.
While these procedures and tests are together referred to as pre-natal diagnostic methods in Section 2(j).
Regulation of Genetic Counselling Centres, Genetic Laboratories, and Genetic Clinics
According to Section 3, genetic counselling centres, genetic laboratories, and genetic clinics must register with the Act and employ competent personnel in order to operate.
Section 3(a) places restrictions on individuals, labs, clinics, etc. that are not registered with the Act.
Techniques for prenatal diagnosis
Section 4 of the statute governs the techniques for prenatal diagnosis.
Section 4(2) of the statute states that only patients with the following defects are given a prenatal diagnosis:
- Chromosomal abnormalities
- Genetic disorders of metabolism
- Sex-specific genetic disorders
- a congenital disorder or,
- Any more irregularities that the Central Supervisory Board (CSB) deems necessary.
Radiation is also used to do diagnostics on patients. Another name for this procedure is radiology.
Prenatal diagnostic procedures may not be employed or carried out unless the person qualified to do so is confident that all of the following requirements are met:
- The expectant mother is older than 35 years old.
- The expectant mother has experienced at least two spontaneous abortions or foetal losses.
- The expectant woman had been exposed to substances, such as drugs, radiation, infections, or toxins.
- The expectant mother’s family has a history of genetic diseases, such as mental impairment or physical abnormalities like spasticity.
- Whatever other requirements that the Central Supervisory Board may specify
- Except for the purposes listed in Section 5(2) of the PCPNDT Act, no one, including a relative or the pregnant woman’s husband, should solicit or promote the use of any pre-natal diagnostic methods on her.
Section 5 of the Act requires written authorization from the expectant mother and a ban on discussing the foetus’ gender.
Under Section 6, the determination of gender is forbidden.
The Central Supervisory Board and the State Supervisory Board
Chapter IV (Sections 7 to 16(a)) covers the establishment of the Central Supervisory Board, which will, among other things, examine and keep an eye on how the Act and Rules are being implemented. State and Union Territory Supervisory Boards are to be created for the same purpose under Section 16(a).
Constitution of the Central Supervisory Board
The constitution of the Central Supervisory Board (CSB) is done by the Union Government to exercise the authority and carry out the duties entrusted to the Board by this Act. The CSB is constituted according to Section 7 of the PCPNDT Act.
Section 7(2) of the Act says that the board shall consist of:
- The Chairperson, ex officio, shall be the Minister responsible for the Ministry or Department of Family Welfare.
- Renowned obstetricians and gynaecologists;
- Renowned paediatricians;
- Renowned social scientists; and
- Representatives of groups that support women;
- Three female lawmakers, two of whom will be chosen by the House of Representatives and one by the Council of States;
- Two members will be selected by the Union government in alphabetical order and two in reverse alphabetical order, to represent the States as well as the Union territories. With the proviso that no appointment under this Section may be made without the state government’s or, where applicable, the union territory’s, recommendation;
- A Union Government officer in charge of Family Welfare who is not below the rank of a Joint Secretary or equivalent, and who will serve as the Member-Secretary, ex officio.
Term of office of members
A member’s term of office, excluding ex officio members, shall be as follows:
- Three years for appointments made in accordance with clauses (e) or (f) of Section 7(2); and
- One year in the case of an appointment made in accordance with subsection (g).
Appointment of the Board’s officers and other personnel
- The Board may, subject to any regulations that may be issued in this regard, appoint (whether on deputation or otherwise) the number of officers and other personnel that it deems necessary in order to enable it to effectively carry out its functions under this Act. It is provided, however, that the Central Government’s consent is required for the appointment of any category of officer that may be mentioned in such regulations.
- All officers and other employees hired by the Board are subject to the terms of service and are entitled to the compensation set forth in the regulations.
Authentication of board orders and other documents
All orders and decisions made by the Board must be signed by the Chairman or another member designated by the Board in this capacity. All other documents issued by the Board must be signed by the Member-Secretary or another officer designated in a similar manner in this capacity.
Disqualifications for membership appointments
- Has received a conviction and prison term for a crime that the Central Government deems to include moral turpitude; or
- Is an undisharged insolvent;
Any individual who ceases to be a member may be appointed again under the same terms of service as specified.
Meetings of the Board
- The board shall convene at such time and location and shall comply with the regulations as to the transaction of business at its meetings (including the quorum at such meetings), as long as the board meets at least once every six months.
- The Chairman, or the Vice-Chairman in his absence, will preside over meetings of the Board.
- Any other individual selected by the members attending the meeting shall preside over the meeting if for whatsoever reason the Chairman or the Vice-Chairman is not able to attend.
- The decision on any matter brought before the Board at any meeting shall be made by a majority of the votes casted by the members present at that time and voting. In the case of a tie vote, the Chairperson, or in his absence, the person who presides shall have a second or casting vote.
- Members who are not ex officio members are entitled to any allowances that the Board may deem appropriate.
According to Section 16 of the Act, the Board would have the following duties:
- To provide policy advice to the Central Government about the use of prenatal diagnostic tools, sex-selection tools and precautions against their abuse;
- To examine and track the application of the Act and the rules issued under it, and to suggest amendments to the Central Government;
- To educate the public about the harmful practises of pre-conception sex selection and prenatal foetal sex determination that can result in female foeticide;
- To establish a code of behaviour for staff members at genetic counselling facilities, genetic research facilities, and genetic clinics;
- To monitor the activities of various organisations created in accordance with the Act and take the necessary actions to guarantee correct and efficient implementation;
- Any other duties that the Act may specify.
State supervisory boards
Section 16A talks about the state supervisory boards (SSB).
Composition of the SSB
- The State’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare, who will serve as Chairperson by default;
- The Secretary of Health and Family Welfare, who serves as the Vice-Chairperson by default;
- Ex officio Secretaries or Commissioners of the Departments of Law, Social Welfare, Indian Systems of Medicine, and Homeopathy, or their representatives;
- The State Government’s ex officio Director of Health and Family Welfare or Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy;
- Three women serving in the Legislative Council or Assembly;
- The State Government shall designate ten members, two of whom must come from each of the following categories:
- renowned social scientists and legal professionals;
- Notable female campaigners from NGOs or other sources;
- Renowned obstetricians and gynaecologists or specialists in stri-roga or prasuti-tantra;
- renowned paediatricians or geneticists in medicine;
- Renowned sonologists or radiologists;
G. An official in charge of family welfare who is not below the rank of Joint Director and who serves as the Member Secretary by default.
The functions of the SSB
The State Supervisory Board must convene at least once every four months and perform the following duties:
- To raise awareness among the general public about the state’s practice of pre-conception sex selection and prenatal foetal sex determination that results in female foeticide;
- To examine the actions of the state’s relevant authorities and suggest appropriate action against them;
- To provide the Board with appropriate suggestions about the execution of the Act’s and regulations’ provisions.
- Sending the Board and the Central Government any consolidated reports that may be required about the different Act-related activities carried out in the State;
- Any further duties that may be specified in the Act
Advisory Committees and Appropriate Authorities
Chapter V (Section 17, 17(A)) includes Advisory Committees and Appropriate Authorities. Under Section 17, the appropriate authorities are granted a wide range of powers, including the ability to issue, revoke, or suspend a centre’s registration, as well as the ability to look into complaints and take legal action. The Appropriate Authorities have the authority to issue search warrants, require the production of documents, and call people, among other things.
Appropriate authorities must work with an Advisory Committee’s assistance and counsel. Each of the Union Territories should have one or more Appropriate Authorities appointed by the Central Government.
The State Appropriate Authority is a multi-member organisation made up of:
- A member of the Joint Director of Health and Family Welfare-Chairperson rank or above;
- A prominent woman representing the interests of a women’s organisation; and
- A member of the state’s or union territory’s law department
Appropriate authorities must be appointed at the district and sub-district levels as well, per Supreme Court directives. The Civil Surgeons, or Chief Medical Officers, have been recognised as the appropriate authorities at the district level.
Duties of Appropriate Authorities
The appropriate authority’s duties include:
- To accept registration application submissions
- To approve, revoke, or suspend the registration and enforce the requirements for genetic counselling offices, clinics, and laboratories
- To look into claims of violations of the Act’s and the Rules’ provisions
- To respond to criticism by bringing a complaint to court.
- Should review all Form Fs filled out for each ultrasound, including the whole justification for the scan and its outcome.
- Sending decoys to doctors who are suspected, then raiding the facility or inspecting the location and gathering evidence there and then
- To guarantee that any sex determination made is accurately recorded
- To commence independent investigations in such a situation and to take necessary legal action against the employment of any sex selection technique by anybody at any location, whether it is done so voluntarily or is brought to its attention.
- To educate the public about the harmful practises of sex selection and prenatal sex determination
- To keep an eye on how the Act’s and regulations’ requirements are being followed
- Advising the CSB and State Boards of any amendments needed to rules necessary to reflect advancements in technology or societal factors
- To act upon the advisory committee’s recommendations for suspension or cancellation of registration that were made following an investigation of the complaint.
The Powers of the Appropriate Authorities
The following powers have been granted to the appropriate authority:
- Summoning anybody who has knowledge of a breach of this Act’s norms or provisions to appear in court.
- Production of any record or tangible thing pertaining to violations
- Issuing a search warrant for any location where prenatal sex determination or sex selection practices are allegedly being used; and
- Any other matter that is prescribed.
Composition of Advisory Committees
- Three medical professionals are chosen among obstetricians, paediatricians, gynaecologists, and medical geneticists;
- One legal expert
- A single official to represent the State Government’s communication and publicity department or the Union Territory, as applicable;
- Three accomplished social workers, at least one of them must be a representative of a women’s organisation.
Registration for PCPNDT
Under Section 18 of the Act, any genetic counselling centre, genetic laboratory, and genetic clinic having an ultrasound or imaging machine may register.
The web portals made accessible by each state, like Karnataka, Maharashtra, etc., are used for PCPNDT online registration.
Under subclause (2) of the aforementioned provision, a request for the registration of a genetic laboratory, clinic, counselling centre, or centre with an ultrasound or imaging machine, or any other machine capable of determining the sex of a foetus, may be made to the competent authorities. Any of the aforementioned facilities, laboratories, or clinics founded prior to the passage of this law must be registered within six months of that date. Such a facility should stop operating if it is not registered within six months of the start of this legislation.
If the aforementioned medical facilities meet the specifications for the types of equipment and standards put out under this legislation, every such counselling centre, laboratory, or clinic receives a certificate of registration under Section 19 of the PCPNDT Act. After a predetermined amount of time, the registration certificate may be renewed by paying particular costs. The certificate has to be prominently displayed at the place of business.
If the aforementioned medical facilities meet the specifications for the types of equipment and standards put out under this legislation, every such counselling centre, laboratory, or clinic receives a certificate of registration under Section 19 of the PCPNDT Act.
After a predetermined amount of time, the registration certificate may be renewed by paying particular costs. The certificate has to be prominently displayed at the place of business.
Registration Revocation or Suspension
According to Section 20 of the Act, the registration certificate may be suspended or revoked suo moto in response to a complaint by delivering a show-cause notice and providing justification therein.
The authorities may continue with the suspension or termination of registration even after providing the medical centre with sufficient time to respond.
According to Section 20(3), the relevant authority may postpone the registration of a location without providing any notice if it determines that doing so is in the interest of the public or is expedient, but only after specifying the justifications in writing.
Appeal against registration under the PCPNDT Act
It is granted in accordance with the PCPNDT Act’s Section 21. An appeal against registration suspension and revocation may be lodged with the following authorities, which are:
- Central government acting against a competent central authority’s directive,
- State government acting against a state’s competent authorities’ directives.
Offences and it’s penalties under the PCPNDT Act
The Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act’s (PCPNDT) Section 22-26 outlines the offences covered by this law and the penalties that may be imposed.
- Section 22– Under Section 22, advertising of any clinic, laboratory, or other location that uses radiography, imaging methods, etc. in connection with a facility for prenatal sex determination is forbidden. Any violation of the provisions in this section will result in a penalty, which includes up to three years in prison and a fine that might reach ten thousand rupees.
- Section 23– While Section 23 addresses this, any gynaecologist, other health practitioners, owner of a genetic laboratory, counselling centre, or clinic, or employee of such a location who renders his professional or technical services and does so in violation of any provisions under this Act is also in violation of the law.
A fine of up to 10,000 rupees and a sentence of up to three years in imprisonment to the offender under Section 22 of the Act. And, if convicted again, the penalty could be increased to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to 50,000 rupees under Section 23 of the Act. The relevant authority may notify the state medical council of the name of the concerned medical petitioner, according to clause (2) of this Section. The purpose of penalties is to take the required measures, suspend the defendant’s registration in the event that charges are brought, and, in the event that he is found guilty, have his name permanently or for five years removed from the council’s register.
If a person consults a genetic counselling centre, clinic, or laboratory for any cause other than those listed in subsection (2) of Section 4, according to clause (3) of this Section, they might face up to five years in jail and a fine of 50,000 rupees. Additionally, a second conviction carries a penalty of up to five years in jail and a fine of one lakh rupees.
The proviso in this Section states that any woman who is required to undergo a diagnostic procedure for sex selection is exempted from the application of Section 23 subsection (3).
Additionally, Section 24 of the Act presumes that the spouse and her family are responsible for pressuring a woman to have a diagnosis other than the diagnostic procedures listed in Section 4(2). And, under Section 23 subclause (3), such a person is held accountable for aiding an offence and is subject to a penalty for that offence.
Section 25 specifies the penalty for the violation of the PCPNDT Act’s requirements. If no punishment is specified elsewhere in this Act for such a violation. Such a penalty may include three-month imprisonment, or a fine of up to a thousand rupees, or both. This fine may increase on a subsequent conviction. The amount is increased to 500 rupees per day for as long as there are other convictions following the first one.
Under Section 26, the offences committed by businesses, whether intentionally or negligently, are covered. The person in charge of the administration of the organisation will be held accountable and punished appropriately if such an offence is committed with his or her permission.
Every offence is cognizable under Section 27, which also prohibits bail and compounding.
Under Section 28 of the Act, the appropriate authorities are mentioned who can take cognizance of an offence given under the Act, just as the jurisdiction of the specific courts is outlined.
The necessity for clinics and other organisations to maintain records is outlined in Section 29.
The Appropriate Authorities have the authority to look for and seize records under Section 30.
Section 32 of the Act mentions the authorities which can make rules in accordance with the Act.
Amendment to the PCPNDT Act
To better control the technology used in gender selection, the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 (PNDT), was amended in 2003 to The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PCPNDT Act).
Consequences of the amendment
The primary goal of the Act’s amendment was to include the practice of pre-conception sex selection. The following things have been added in the amendment of 2003:
- Including ultrasonography in its scope
- Constitution of a state-level supervisory board and the strengthening of the central supervisory board
- Making provisions for harsher penalties
- granting the competent authorities the right to use a civil court to search for, confiscate, and seal the violators’ machines and equipment
- limiting the sale of ultrasound equipment to authorised organisations
Loopholes in the PCPNDT Act
Chances of corruption
Registration of Genetic Guidance Centers and Laboratories may only be used to legalise private clinics that continue to engage in these operations for financial gain despite the law’s ineffective deterrents. Additionally, licencing would open up a new door for corruption to get around the paperwork. We are now more conscious that these tests should only be conducted in publicly accountable government hospitals rather than endorsing the private sector.
Elimination of fear
The appropriate authorities have confiscated the ultrasound device in multiple instances. According to the PCPNDT Act’s provisions, if the Appropriate Authority seizes any ultrasound equipment or other foetal sex detection equipment used by an organisation not registered under the Act, then the organization’s machine is only released upon payment of a penalty equal to five times the registration fee and upon receipt of an assurance from the organisation that it will not engage in foetal sex detection or sex selection before or after conception. This proviso eliminates the Act’s fear or deterrent elements. It merely communicates that after making a minimal payment and submitting an undertaking, the person may continue working. To stop encouraging those who commit this offence to break the rules of this Act, this rule should either be repealed or changed.
Punishing the victim
The law’s attempt to dissuade women by punishing them is its most unpleasant and illogical aspect. In a setting where the social structure gives women very little room to make independent judgments and forces them to make “choices,” such a provision can only make women’s agony worse. Only the preservation of the interests of those responsible for providing such a facility can be facilitated by penalising women.
No local authorities
The establishment of local vigilance committees, which would aid in effective implementation, is not contemplated, and the only nominal entities are those at the central and state levels. Due to the extremely high earnings made from this industry, the punishment for the offenders is minimal and incapable of serving as a deterrent.
A Loophole in Form F of the Act
The majority of the time, during a search and seizure, the appropriate authorities discovered errors in the Form F’s completion. These forms serve as early documented proof proving the patients’ identities. It is challenging to track down the ladies and determine whether a sex-selective abortion was carried out following the ultrasound because of inadequate documentation. The PCPNDT Act defines improper recordkeeping as a crime.
Updating the Act
Future sex-determination methods being developed, such as testing for craniate cells in maternal blood, subtle sex-pre-selection methods like electrolysis, Ericsson’s approach, etc., are currently not covered by the legislation. If emerging technologies do not expand the reach of the law, they will quickly steer away from the horrible issues that it must confront.
Difficulty in the assessment of an application
The law’s effective execution seems more or less impossible. Given that people acquiring the sex of the foetus may be interested in learning the results, it is not advisable to prevent information about the sex of the craniate from being disclosed. The process of assessing the application has grown more difficult due to the rising popularity of the ability to avoid detection among suppliers and consumers.
Hence, attempts to manage or regulate the operation of the private medical sector by standalone legislation may not be the most appropriate course of action. The problem that arises in the other direction is that a state must participate widely in the execution of this Act; the passage of the law is simply the first step in that direction. A type of work that is typically not considered a core health performance must be performed by the state machinery, in this case, the health department.
Union of India v. Vinod Soni & Others, 2005
In this case, the petitioners were a married couple. They had essentially raised two arguments against the Act’s constitutionality: first, that it violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, and second, that it violates Article 21. However, the Article 14 challenge was not pushed into submission at the time of the hearing. However, the Hon’ble High Court pointed out the flaw in this justification by stating that “the right to personal liberty cannot be stretched in any way to include the freedom to forbid the conception of a female or male foetus, which should be left to the will of nature.” The High Court held that “these rights, even if further expanded to the extremes of the possible elasticity of the provisions of Article 21, cannot include the right to selection of sex, whether preconception or post-conception,” citing Supreme Court decisions that explain that Article 21 includes the right to food, clothing, a decent environment, and even protection of cultural heritage. The High Court noted that “this Act is factually enacted to advance the child’s right to complete development as provided for under Article 21.” Therefore, regardless of the infant’s sex, a conceived child has a right to full development under Article 21. As a result, the High Court rejected the petition, ruling that there was no evidence at all that Article 21 of the Constitution was violated.
Suo Motu v. State of Gujarat, 2008
The following issues were raised in this case for consideration:
- Does Section 28 of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 permit a court to find a violation of the Act upon receipt of a complaint from any official authorised by the appropriate authorities to file such a complaint?
- Does the proviso to subsection (3) of Section 4 of the PNDT Act mandate that the complaint should include specific claims about the violation of Sections 5 and 6 of the Act?
- Is it the authority’s responsibility to establish that there was a contravention of the provisions of Section 5 or 6 of the Act
- A court may take notice of an offence under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994, on a complaint submitted by any official authorised in that regard by the relevant authorities, according to Section 28 of the PNDT Act.
- The proviso to Section 4(3) of the PNDT Act does not mandate that the complaint alleging accuracy or inadequacy in preserving records in the required way should also contain an accusation of violating Sections 5 or 6 of the PNDT Act.
- The burden of proving a violation of Sections 5 or 6 does not fall on the prosecution in a case based on allegations of a shortcoming or error in maintaining the record in the manner specified by sub-section (3) of Section 4 of the PNDT Act.
In a comprehensive view of gender inequality, it is also important to include the serious crime of killing female foetuses. The fervently upheld mistreatment of women, the use of violence, the denial of economic prospects, and the complete silence of their voices, even on such a private and important subject as rearing their own families, all reveal deeply ingrained patriarchal attitudes. However, while being a multifaceted evil, it still has to be combated with a persistent campaign from all angles. There can be obstacles and dead ends. They must be recognised, named, and dealt with. The cruelty and avarice of the medical profession’s members in such activities and degrading practices must not be tolerated by professional organisations like the Indian Medical Association.
For the PNDT Act to be a fundamental transformation, emphasis must also be placed on sufficient education, lobbying, publicity, and commitment to saving female foetuses and unborn daughters so that their Right to Life is recognised and protected, even in situations where doctors are not involved directly. If they have specific information, their vigilance in reporting such acts to competent authorities can certainly help. The creation of a creative legal engagement plan as a method of mobilisation and opposition is ultimately what is required.
The level of PCPNDT Act knowledge fell short of expectations. Women’s attitudes towards the sex of children and societal factors that favour male offspring are still ingrained in society. It is imperative that the media, social workers, and medical personnel take an active role in educating the public and changing women’s attitudes.
The most prevalent goals of the pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic procedures Act of 1994 are to monitor female foeticide and prevent it from occurring. After being put into effect, its effectiveness is clear.
A good indicator is that the PCPNDT Act’s sex ratio has risen to 108.18 men for every 100 females, or 947 females for every 1000 males, and is increasing at an estimated annual rate of 0.19 percent. Although there is still a lack of knowledge of the crime of female foeticide in rural India, the government has introduced several programmes to combat it and promote the welfare of girls. in order for people in rural India to stop these activities. The “Mukhbir Yojna” is one such plan. A person who notifies the government department of any doctor or other medical personnel engaging in the practice of sex determination or female foeticide would receive a reward of 2 lakh rupees.
At last, it can be seen that the medical and health law regarding protecting the female foetus has resulted in some changes, but the medical fraternity needs to be protected at the same time from these minor offences. For this reason, the right to operate a clinic, hospital, or nursing home with all of these regulations that are in harmony with the responsibilities of doctors and medical ethics needs to be properly examined, as doctors owe a constitutional duty to treat the sick and injured.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)
The prenatal determination technology (regulation and prevention of misuse) Act of 1994 had its name changed by which Amendment Act?
Ans. The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Determination Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection Techniques) Act was revised in 2002 to include the pre-natal determination method (regulation and prevention of misuse).
According to the PCPNDT Act of 1994, who is the appropriate authority?
Ans. For the purposes of this Act, the Central Government shall designate one or more appropriate authorities in each of the union territories by publication in the Official Gazette.
How does PNDT registration work?
Ans. In the USG room and the reception area, the PC-PNDT registration certificate must be on display in its original format. A copy of the PC-PNDT Act must be kept at the centre and must be visible in both the USG room and the lobby/reception area.
- Handbook on Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 and Rules with Amendments
- Role of Judiciary to Implement the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 | SCC Blog
- Important points in the PC-PNDT Act
- The PC-PNDT act in a nutshell – PMC
- The PC-PNDT act in a nutshell
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