Rajasthan High Court: Deeply concerned with the increasing crime of female feticide in the State of Rajasthan, a division bench of Sunil Ambwani CJ and Prakash Gupta J, issued an interim order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) initiated by Shri S.K. Gupta for prevention of female foeticide in the State.
Shri S.K. Gupta (petitioner in person) suggested various measures and prayed for steps to be taken by the State Government against the crime as well as for implementation of laws to discourage female foeticide and declining of sex ratio of girl child in the State. The Counsel for the respondent G.S. Gill, contended that the State Government is seriously concerned with the implementation of laws and other measures to improve the child sex ratio.
The Court observed that the concern shown by the State Government and efforts made by it for better implementation of the Preconception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 by developing software and launching various schemes for encouraging the development of girl child and discouraging female feticide is not adequate, as hardly any conviction has been secured. The Court noted that the PCPNDT Act does not appear to have deterred the medical profession sufficiently to avoid ultrasound sonography test to determine sex of the foetus, and that the earlier directions issued by the court in this regard have not resulted into any desired impact on the reduction of female feticide in the State.
Accordingly, considering the slow pace of implementation of PCPNDT Act, the Court issued the following directions:
- Seizure and confiscation of the ultrasound sonography machine of the unregistered PCPNDT clinic (which shall not be released until the conclusion of the proceedings under the PCPNDT Act OR payment of penalty equal to five times of the registration fee and on full satisfaction by the Appropriate Authority, with the undertaking of compliance of the PCPNDT Act and Rules).
- The Registered Medical Practitioners shall sign the sonography reports of the sonography test carried out by them, and the sign should not be the Digital Signature.
- Seizure of every sonography machine (whether static or portable), sold by the manufacturer without being reported to the State Appropriate Authority.
- Installation of GPS system by every manufacturer at the time of sale of machine to trace the location of the ultrasound sonography machine, and prohibition on sale of sonography machines without GPS system after three months.
- Establishment of sufficient number of control rooms and appointment of nodal officer for continuous monitoring of control room servers and active tracking of sonography machines.
- Establishment of special PCPNDT Courts in the Districts of Rajasthan, where the situation of female feticide is worse, as evidenced by the fall in the girl child sex ratio in these Districts.
- Freedom given to the members of society to report these crimes to the State Appropriate Authority and the District Appropriate Authority, for which they will be rewarded, if the complaints are found genuine.
- State Government to increase and expand the scope of the existing schemes and to initiate more schemes, for public awareness for protection of girl child.
- State Government to make education of the girl child in the State completely free; to increase the percentage of reservation for women in public employment from 30% to 50%; and to provide measures to limit the expenditure in weddings at all levels.
- Expeditious disposal of appeals and trials.
The Court also directed the respondents to submit the compliance and progress report on the directions issued by this Court on 11.05.2015. S.K. Gupta v. Union of India, decided on 15.04.2015