Revoke order that can weaken law banning sex determination test: AIDWA

It says suspension of these rules will mean that clinics and genetic labs can carry on functioning without any scrutiny

Updated - April 10, 2020 09:55 pm IST

Published - April 10, 2020 09:54 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. File

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. File

A women’s rights group has written a memorandum to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asking the government to withdraw an order that could weaken the implementation of the law that bans pre-natal sex determination.

“The suspension of these rules throughout the country would mean that clinics and genetic labs can carry on functioning without any scrutiny. This is the only scrutiny that these labs are subjected to, to assess their adherence to the basic rules and to ensure that sex selection is not being carried out by them,” the All India Democratic Women’s Association said in a statement.

It was referring to a gazette notification issued by the Health Ministry on April 4, which suspended Rule 8, Rule 9(8) and Rule 18A(6) of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994. The clauses deal with the process for renewal of registration of genetic and ultrasound clinic, responsibilities of labs in maintaining and preserving records of all tests, techniques and procedures as well as the duties of district authorities in sharing a quarterly progress report.

Though, the Health Ministry has since issued a clarification through a press statement that its move was to only allow an extension of deadline for submitting these reports until June 30, the AIDWA has rejected this explanation.

“We strongly feel that the Gazette notification suspending Rule 8, Rule 9 (8) and Rule 18A(6) should be revoked. The government can, if necessary, issue an administrative order to delay the submission of the reports under Rule 9(8) and 18A(6) till June 30 while making it clear that the relevant records must be maintained as mandated by the PCPNDT Act. However, the application for re-registration should not be allowed to be postponed since this can be done online,” the AIDWA said.

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