State drive to enforce PCPNDT Act lauded
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Maharashtra's efforts to strictly implement the Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act reportedly found appreciation in the Supreme Court on February 12 at the hearing of a PIL filed by Voluntary Health Association of Punjab (VHAP). SC bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra had summoned the health secretaries of seven worst performing states to provide details on action taken to implement the Act.
NGO VHAP had in the PIL highlighted violation of Act and told the court through their counsel Colin Gonsalves that any figure below 900 girls per 1000 boys should be viewed seriously.
Maharashtra where average sex ratio at birth had dipped to as low as 883 girls per 1000 boys had taken a series of steps to strictly implement the Act. According to health officials at the State Family Welfare Bureau, 8,413 sonography centres have been brought under the registered category until December 2012 and 38 raids using decoys have been conducted. During an inspection of sonography and Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) centres in June last year, action was taken against 291 sonography centres and 341 MTP centres.
On the basis of complaints registered on the website www.amchimulgi.gov.in seven sonography machines were sealed. Complaints on the toll-free number led to sealing of 28 machines.
There were 400 court cases and 98 of them have been heard. A total of 45 cases have ended in conviction and in 29 cases 33 doctors were imprisoned and in 16 cases penalties were imposed.
The names of 75 medical practitioners against whom charges have been framed have been communicated to the state medical councils as per Section 23 (2) of the PCPNDT Act. Registration of at least 20 doctors has been suspended by the Maharashtra Medical Council.
Sex ratio at birth sees a quantum leap