SC demands details of steps taken to curb female foeticide from Centre and States [Read the Order]
A Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice N.V. Ramana, today rapped the Centre for being “sloppy” in taking steps to curb female foeticide in the country. The Bench stated, “What are you (Centre) doing? You make law but don’t do anything to implement it and leave it to the fate… You are becoming sloppy on the issue and appropriate authorities are not taking any action at all.”
Additional Solicitor General, Mr. Neeraj Kishan Kaul, was asked to file an affidavit of the Additional Secretary of Health and/or any other concerned Additional Secretary which shall reflect the response in the proper perspective. The affidavit is supposed to clearly indicate what steps have been taken and on the basis of the steps taken, what results have been achieved. Similarly, the Counsel for all the States are asked to file their responses through the concerned Health Secretaries. The affidavits have been asked to file within four weeks barring the State of Jammu Kashmir, which was asked to file it within six weeks.
The Bench added that the affidavits “shall be comprehensive and must reflect sincerity and responsibility. It should not be an affidavit in formality.”
The average count of girl child (0-6 years) in the country has dropped to 914 per 1000 boys as per the Census 2011 which was earlier 927 in the 2001 Census.
The Supreme Court had issued several directions on 4th March, 2013 in the case of Voluntary Health Association of Punjab v. Union of India & Ors., expressing its concern about female foeticide and the reduction of sex ratio and further how the persons who are required to involve in such awareness for stopping of female foeticide should equip themselves.
The Court was hearing a writ petition filed by Dr. Sabu Mathew George, demanding certain clarifications in the directions issued in the judgment.
It was contended by the petitioner that the Union of India has to animate itself in an appropriate manner to see that the sex ratio is maintained and does not reduce further.
It was his submission that the Central Supervision Committee which is required to meet to take stock of the situation has not met for the last 14 months. It was urged that the National Monitoring Committee who is required to monitor has failed in its duty.
The Sevana website, accessed at maintained by the Kerala Government (Local self government Department) provides details of all births and other vital statistics which are electronically registered by the Local Governments in the registration units. The Court noted that Kerala was the first State in India to have a centralized database of civil registration records from all registration units. This initiative of the Kerala Government has received wide acclaim. The information displayed on the website includes:
i) The birth information is summarized for the State. And for each unit, District, Municipality, Corporation or Gram Panchayat level data can be obtained by clicking the map.
ii) Graphs provide a visual comparison of boys and girls born over the past three years.
iii) This is available at the State, District and other local body levels.
It was asserted by the petitioners that that the authorities have not acted on the basis of the provision for regulation pre-natal diagnostic techniques of in all seriousness as a result of which the nation is facing the disaster of female foeticide.
The case was listed on 25.11.2014, for further hearing.
Read the order here.