India: Crackdown on pre-natal sex screening violations grows some teeth Print E-mail

Government files charges of performing illegal sex tests or failing to register ultrasound equipment against 387 medics

 Thursday 15 June 2006

Sex determination tests: 387 cases filed in court

DH News Service, New Delhi:

In the wake of a conviction in a sex-determination trial earlier this year, the Government has filed 387 cases in court against doctors who are still practising sex determination. The cases include 20 from Karnataka.

The State has the dubious distinction of having the second highest registered cases in the southern India after Tamil Nadu where 47 cases have been registered, according to official statistics released by the Health Ministry on Wednesday.

While no cases have been registered in Kerala, in Andhra Pradesh there were eight cases against doctors who were either doing illegal sex tests or did not register their ultrasound machines.

Delhi tops the national list with 76 registered cases whereas many cases have been filed in Goa (57), Punjab (67), Maharashtra (46), Gujarat (57) and Haryana (23).

“But enforcement continues to be a problem even after conviction. The enforcing authorities should be given more teeth. We plan to create one monitoring cell in each state on the lines of the national monitoring cell in the Union Health Ministry,” Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told reporters.

He was speaking after a meeting of the central supervisory board of pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic technique act.

The national sex ratio ­ the number of females for every 1,000 males ­ has gone down to 933 in 2001 from 972 in 1991. However, there is a marginal increase in the nineties as the sex ration dipped to 927 in 1991 census.

But the child sex ratio (for kids of age 0-6 years) has nosedived to 927 in 2001 compared to 945 recorded in 1991, sources said, adding that more than half a million girl children are killed every year because of female foeticide.

In Karnataka, the child sex ratio has gone down to 946 in 2001 from 960 in 1991. A district-wise analysis shows Belgaum is the worst district where child sex ration has come to 921 in 2001 as against 955 in 1991. Bijapur, Bagalkot, Gulbarga, Bidar, Chitradurga, Chikmagalur, Tumkur and Mandya are other districts that have witnessed a significant drop in child sex ratio.

However, focusing on the North including Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and Chandigarh which are notorious for illegal sex selection and increasing female foeticide, the Centre has allocated Rs 5 lakh for MPs from these states to spread awareness on preventing sex selection.