Fast-track courts must for sex test cases, says chief secy


TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Mumbai: Newly appointed chief secretary Jayant Banthia will ask the chief justice of the Bombay high court to set up fast-track courts to try cases registered under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.
Health minister Suresh Shetty said till date 342 cases have been filed under the PCPNDT and MTP acts. There have been convictions in 42 cases while 248 cases are pending in various courts. He said the government would also appoint senior lawyers in the districts to appear in these cases.
“District collectors can suggest the names of two lawyers who they consider to be
women/men of integrity and experts on this issue,” said Shetty. The law and judiciary department would also write to all assistant public prosecutors and government pleaders to maintain utmost sincerity while appearing in these cases.
The health minister said he would hold a meeting on the first Monday of every month to review the progress in the implementation of the act and clear the hurdles, if there was any.
Following the increasing cases of female foeticide being reported in Beed, Latur, Solapur, Wardha and Dhule, the government has been forced to step up its efforts in implementing the act. Thane abortion clinic runs ‘minus licence’
Business goes on as usual at Gopika Nursing Home on Gokhale Road in Thane. Freshly painted signboards outside the “abortion centre” promise prospective patients “total confidentiality”; they declare the rates for abortion and fibroid surgery; and they guarantee to discharge patients within an hour of operation. Nowhere is there any sign of the fact that the clinic’s registration “was cancelled” last year after Dr Umesh Londhe, who runs the place, was filmed in a sting operation agreeing to abort a female foetus after organizing a prenatal sex determination test.
“It is completely illegal as this
nursing home was stripped of its licence. They cannot conduct any medical-related surgery or practice at Gopika Nursing Home. We have cancelled their registration under the Nursing Home Registration Act, 1949,” said Dr R T Kendre, chief medical officer of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC).
Top civic officials said the nursing home’s registration was cancelled within days of the sting op by voluntary group Lek Ladki and social activist Varsha Deshpande in July last year. “There is no question of revoking the cancellation because the case is pending before a judicial magistrate and we are in the process of filing charges against the doctor,” Dr Kendre said.
“Moreover, on our recommendation, the civil surgeons’ committee cancelled the licence issued to Dr Londhe for conducting abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy,” the civic official said. “The committee has terminated the licence issued under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act on the basis of prima facie evidence with us. In effect, Gopika Nursing Home has been erased from our records.”
Dr Londhe, however, maintained that he had not been informed of any such action against him and is legally within his rights to practice. “After the sting operation, I had closed the nursing home for some months. However, I have started my practice again here as there is no order or notice from any agency preventing me from doing so. At least I have not been informed about the deregistration of the nursing home or cancellation of the MTP licence,” Dr Londhe claimed.
He said he was still in possession of his original licence to run the nursing home and had in fact annually applied to the TMC for licence renewal. “I also recently… paid the fire brigade a fee when it came for an official inspection of my premises,” Dr Londhe said.
Dr Kendre, however, said that all original papers related to the clinic have been presented in court. “He is misleading all. He can practice since his registration given by the Medical Council of India is still valid. The law states that unless charges are framed against a practicing doctor he cannot be stripped of his registration. We are in the process of framing charges against him and after a hearing on June 13 we will notify the MCI to initiate action against him,” he added.

UNHEALTHY PRACTICE: Gopika Nursing Home’s registration was cancelled after a sting op showed Dr Umesh Londhe agreeing to abort a female foetus
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  1. Trackback: Victims’ silence roadblock in conviction-Congress MLA Praniti Shinde « Forum against Sex Selection (FASS)

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