Female foeticide: court may be moved

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Centre is considering seeking court intervention to direct States to enforce the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act.

Talking to reporters after chairing the Central Supervisory Board meeting here on Wednesday, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister A. Ramadoss said he had written to the Chief Ministers of States where the female sex ratio had declined drastically to ensure that the Act was not violated. He cited the sting operations by private television channels, which exposed the female foeticide being blatantly carried out in these States.

Dr. Ramadoss said he had written to the Chief Ministers of such States seeking to know what action had been taken against those violating the Act. However, only Rajasthan had responded, saying cases had been filed against the doctors and clinics identified in the sting operations. "If others do not respond, we might move the court and seek its intervention."

Dr. Ramadoss said no timeframe had been fixed for getting the response.

He said the Act was a good law but needed to be enforced. There were some hurdles such as delay in convictions, lack of awareness and little participation by the stakeholders. But these, he said, would be rectified. Stressing the need to create more awareness against female foeticide, Dr. Ramadoss said all MPs from Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh were being given Rs. 5 lakh each for the purpose.

To further streamline the process, the Central Supervisory Board inducted Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhary as co-chair of the Board. She said the Centre had declared a national alert in the wake of a dangerous decline in the female sex ratio in the country.

According to Ms. Chowdhary, the target for awareness creation would be the educated and informed people of the developed States where the decline was the highest.

There has been only one conviction since the law was enacted in 1994, though the number of cases for violation of the Act had touched 387.

The highest number of violations has been reported from Delhi where the figure is 76.