12 doctors in jail for violating foeticide Act
Akhil Chowdhury Jan 26, 2012, 03.37AM IST
MUMBAI: Twelve doctors were convicted and handed out prison terms in the last year for carrying out sex determination tests and non-registration of sonography machines in the state.
This is the first time that doctors have been sent to jail in the state for violating the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT). Ever since the census reports were made public-Maharashtra has a dismal child sex ratio of 925 females per 1,000 males-the state government has taken various steps, including launching the 'Save the Girl Child' campaign, to prevent female foeticide.
The orders for the doctors' imprisonment were issued by judicial magistrate first class of the respective districts. All the convictions have taken place in the rich belt of western Maharashtra. A majority of the cases are from Sangli. The other districts include Solapur, Nanded and Kolhapur. In five cases, the vigilance squad used a decoy (a pregnant lady) to catch the radiologist red-handed while carrying out sex-determination tests and informing the patient about the child's sex. The other cases related to the non-registration of sonography machines.
In the last one year, the civic body sealed 39 sonography machines in Mumbai. Of these, 22 have been released. Officials said the last time doctors were convicted under the PCPNDT Act was in 2002. "Fourteen doctors from Pune were convicted, but were let off after paying a fine of Rs 1,000 each," said an official.
(This young editor was accompanied by Clara Lewis)