No improvement in Delhi’s sex ratio: SC issues directions; says cases filed under PNDT Act, 1994 should be finalized by 30th September, 2015

No improvement in Delhi’s sex ratio: SC issues directions; says cases filed under PNDT Act, 1994 should be finalized by 30th September, 2015

A Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice P.C. Pant yesterday expressed great concern over the lack of improvement in the sex ratio in Delhi and passed directions on the issue of female foeticide.

The universal sex ratio of Delhi as per population census for all age groups taken together was 821 females per 1000 males in 2001 and it has become 866 females per 1000 males as per provisional data of census – 2011. Children sex ratio (0-6) of Delhi went down marginally from 868 (as per census 2001) to 866 (as per census 2011). At both points of the figures of Delhi were below than All India level.

It directed the formation of a State Board, provided under Section 2(q) of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of sex-selection) Act, 1994. This Board should meet at least once in two months, as per the directions of the Court, even though the statutory requirement stipulates that the Board should meet once in four months. Further, the agenda of the meeting shall be circulated by e-mail 10 to all the members before a week along with reports of the Deputy Commissioners for each District so that there can be effective participation by all the members.

It also directed that a system should be developed so that anyone, who comes to known of any illegality being committed under the 1994 Act by any person, can send the complaint/information to the said authority even anonymously so that it can take appropriate action.

The Bench said that the cases filed under this Act should be given priority, “for litigations under the 1994 Act should be put to an end at the earliest, regard being had to the fact that the object and purpose of the Act is for the prohibition of the misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for the determination of sex and leading to female foeticide and prohibition of advertisement of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for determination sex, etc.”

All the Trial Magistrates before whom the prosecution under the 1994 Act is pending have hence been directed that they should finalize the same by 30th September, 2015.

The Bench directed that this order should be given wide publicity in Newspapers, All India Radio and Doordarshan, “so that the people at large know the sacrosanctity of the 1994 Act, the issues raised before this Court and the manner in which the same being addressed to and how there should be real concern not to go for sex selection, or destruction of female foetus subject to law, that is, the provisions of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.”

The next date of hearing has been fixed as 06.05.2015 to consider the objections of State of Bihar and Himachal Pradesh and also to issue directions in respect of other States whose reports have not been verified.

In November last year, rapping the States for their lackadaisical approach towards the issue of female foeticide, a Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice U.U. Lalit recapitulated the saying, “Awake, Arise, Oh! Parth” and stated, “we say this to the States so that they can really wake up to take the issue of female foeticide with all seriousness and sincere concern.”

The Bench noted that some States had filed affidavits in pursuance of an earlier order. However, certain states, namely, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Orissa, Tripura, and UT of Daman and Nagar Haveli and Puducherry, “by adopting a lackadaisical attitude”, had still hadn’t filed an affidavit. They were given two weeks time to file the same. Read the LiveLaw story here.

Read more news about the issue, here.

Read the Order here.