NOT KEEPING RECORD OF PRE-NATAL TESTS IS CRIMINAL: SC
04, May 2019
Prelims level : Science & Technology Mains level : Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
Why in News
- The Supreme Court upheld provisions in the anti-pre-natal sex determination law which ‘criminalises’ non-maintenance of medical records by obstetricians and gynaecologists and suspend their medical licence indefinitely.
- A Bench of Justices held that the particular provisions in the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act of 1994 were necessary to prevent female foeticide in the country.
- The main purpose of the Act is to ban the use of sex selection and misuse of pre-natal diagnostic technique for sex selective abortions and to regulate such techniques.
- The court dismissed averments made by doctors that the provisions in the law criminalise even the smallest anomaly in paperwork which is in fact an inadvertent and unintentional error.
- The sections have made obstetricians and gynaecologists vulnerable to prosecution all over the country.
- “It is a responsible job of the person who is undertaking such a test i.e., the gynaecologist/medical geneticist/radiologist/ paediatrician/director of the clinic/centre/laboratory to fill the requisite information. In case he keeps it vague, he knows fully well that he is violating the provisions of the Act,
Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act
- The Pre-conception & Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act, 1994 was enacted in response to the decline in Sex ratio in India, which deteriorated from 972 in 1901 to 927 in 1991.
- The main purpose of enacting the act is to ban the use of sex selection techniques before or after conception and prevent the misuse of prenatal diagnostic technique for sex selective abortion.
- The Act was amended to bring the technique of pre conception sex selection and ultrasound technique within the ambit of the act.
- In 1988, the State of Maharashtra became the first in the country to ban pre-natal sex determination through enacting the Maharashtra Regulation of Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act