TAMIL NADU

Code for doctors: plan to move court against medical council

CHENNAI, APRIL 24. Members of the Campaign Against Sex Selective Abortion (CASSA) will move court against the Tamil Nadu Medical Council for non-implementation of the code of ethics for doctors. They will also initiate legal action against the State Government for not constituting a supervisory board under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.

Presenting a list of recommendations at the end of a two-day workshop yesterday on `Strategies to enforce the PCPNDT Act and Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act,' participants said non-implementation of the recent Supreme Court judgment on pre-natal diagnostic techniques amounted to contempt. In spite of repeated court reminders Tamil Nadu failed to constitute a supervisory board, P. Phavalam, convener, CASSA, said.

The demands included that all pregnancies be registered and consequently that sex-wise monitoring of births be made mandatory. Elected representatives of panchayats and urban local governments must be sensitised to the issue and monitoring committees formed at the panchayat level. Politicians, teachers, nurses and non-governmental organisations must be roped into this exercise, she said.

The Campaign promised to work closely with women's organisations, including the All-India Democratic Women's Association, the Tamil Nadu Women's Forum and Pennurimai Iyakkam, and consumer organisations to ensure that all ultra-sound scan and imaging centres were registered. A district-wise monitoring of all scan centres and MTP centres would begin from May 1, said Gandimathi, core team member, CASSA.

Participants of the workshop yesterday visited scan and MTP centres at Egmore, Vadapalani, Kodambakkam, Anna Nagar, Kellys, Alwarpet, Mylapore and Ayanavaram here to check whether sex determination tests were being performed and records maintained.

The teams reported that records were not being maintained as per requirements under the law and that second trimester abortions were being performed. Scan centres were not submitting a summary of their records to the government every month, the team members claimed, adding some sonologists admitted that doctors pressured them to provide a commission for referrals.

Activist Sabu George pointed out that though the appropriate authority constituted under the Act must comprise three members, in Tamil Nadu, it remained under the control of a single authority.

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