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Granting Bail May Reinforce The Notion That Pre-Natal Diagnostic Regulation Act Is Only A 'Paper Tiger': MP HC Denies Bail To Woman Accused Of Female Foeticide

Akshita Saxena
3 April 2021 8:48 AM GMT
Granting Bail May Reinforce The Notion That Pre-Natal Diagnostic Regulation Act Is Only A Paper Tiger: MP HC Denies Bail To Woman Accused Of Female Foeticide
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Calling for strict implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, the Madhya High Court recently denied bail to a woman accused of female foeticide. A Single Bench of Justice Gurpal Singh Ahluwalia observed, "we find it imperative that no leniency should be granted at this stage as the same may reinforce...

Calling for strict implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, the Madhya High Court recently denied bail to a woman accused of female foeticide.

A Single Bench of Justice Gurpal Singh Ahluwalia observed,

"we find it imperative that no leniency should be granted at this stage as the same may reinforce the notion that the PC&PNDT Act is only a paper tiger and that clinics and laboratories can carry out sex‐ determination and feticide with impunity. A strict approach has to be adopted if we are to eliminate the scourge of female feticide and iniquity towards girl children from our society."

The Judge noted that in the instant case, the investigating authority had seized the sonography machine and made out a strong prima facie case against the Petitioner-accused.

He was further informed that there is specific allegation against the Petitioner, in the statement of the prosecutrix which was recorded under Section 164 of CrPC.

The Petitioner, wife of the main accused was alleged to have given some pills to the prosecutrix for the purpose of abortion. She was accordingly booked for offence under Sections 313 (causing miscarriage without woman's consent) and 318 (Concealment of birth by secret disposal of dead body) of IPC and under Section 5/6(j)(ii) of the POCSO Act.

The Bench noted that contrary to the prevailing practice, the investigative team has seized the sonography machine and made out a strong prima facie case against the petitioner. Therefore, it is imperative that no leniency is granted.

Reliance was placed on Rekha Sengar v. State of Madhya Pradesh, LL 2021 SC 51, where by the Supreme Court had expressed concern over non-implementation of the 1994 Act, It had observed,

"There has been no effective supervision or follow up action so as to achieve the object and purpose of the Act. Mushrooming of various sonography centres, genetic clinics, genetic counselling centres, genetic laboratories, ultrasonic clinics, imaging centres in almost all parts of the country calls for more vigil and attention by the authorities under the Act. But, unfortunately, their functioning is not being properly monitored or supervised by the authorities under the Act or to find out whether they are misusing the prenatal diagnostic techniques for determination of sex of foetus leading to foeticide.

Seldom, the ultrasound machines used for such sex determination in violation of the provisions of the Act are seized and, even if seized, they are being released to the violators of the law only to repeat the crime…"

Case Title: Rajni Lodhi v. State of Madhya Pradesh

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