Extensive directions issued for implementation of Prohibition of Sex Selection laws

Supreme Court: Showing grave concern over the non-implementation of the provisions of The Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 (for brevity “the Act”) and The Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Rules, 1996 (for short “the Rules”) framed under the Act by the competent authorities who are obliged to do so, the bench of Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh, JJ gave the below mentioned directions:

  • All the States and the Union Territories should maintain a centralized database of civil registration records from all registration units including the each District, Municipality, Corporation or Gram Panchayat so that information can be made available from the website regarding the number of boys and girls being born.
  • The statutory authorities as envisaged under the Act should be constituted and the competent authorities shall take steps for the reconstitution of the statutory bodies so that they can become immediately functional after expiry of the term. Also, they shall meet regularly so that the provisions of the Act can be implemented in reality and the effectiveness of the legislation is felt and realized in the society.
  • The provisions contained in Sections 22 and 23 of the Act dealing with offences and penalties should be strictly adhered to. Section 23(2) of the Act shall be duly complied with and it shall be reported by the authorities so that the State Medical Council takes necessary action after the intimation is given under the said provision. The Appropriate Authorities who have been appointed under Sections 17(1) and 17(2) of the Act shall be imparted periodical training to carry out the functions as required under various provisions of the Act.
  • The Courts which deal with the complaints under the Act shall be fast tracked and the concerned High Courts shall issue appropriate directions in that regard and they should deal with the matters in promptitude and submit the quarterly report to the High Courts through the concerned Sessions and District Judge. Also, the judicial officers who are to deal with these cases under the Act shall be periodically imparted training in the Judicial Academies or Training Institutes, as the case may be, so that they can be sensitive and develop the requisite sensitivity as projected in the objects and reasons of the Act and its various provisions and in view of the need of the society.
  • The Director of Prosecution or, if the said post is not there, the Legal Remembrancer or the Law Secretary shall take stock of things with regard to the lodging of prosecution so that the purpose of the Act is subserved.
  • A Committee of three Judges by Chief Justices of each of the High Courts in the country so that can periodically oversee the progress of the cases.
  • The State Legal Services Authorities of the States shall give emphasis on the awareness campaign during the spread of legal aid and involve the para-legal volunteers. The Union of India and the States shall see to it that appropriate directions are issued to the authorities of All India Radio and Doordarshan functioning in various States to give wide publicity pertaining to the saving of the girl child and the grave dangers the society shall face because of female foeticide.
  • All the appropriate authorities including the States and districts notified under the Act shall submit quarterly progress report to the Government of India through the State Government and maintain Form H for keeping the information of all registrations readily available as per sub-rule 6 of Rule 18A of the Rules.
  • The States and Union Territories shall implement the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (Six Months Training) Rules, 2014 forthwith considering that the training provided therein is imperative for realising the objects and purpose of this Act.
  • As the Union of India and some States framed incentive schemes for the girl child, the States that have not framed such schemes, may introduce such schemes.

[Voluntary Health Association of Punjab v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1244, decided on 08.11.2016]

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