Karnataka Selection of panel to enforce PCPNDT Act raises hackles


Poornima Nataraj, Bengaluru, June 01, 2015, DHNS:

After being dormant for more than two years, the State government has appointed members to State Supervisory Board (SSB) to implement the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, which bans determination of sex of the foetus.

The State government, however, has failed to comply with the rules laid down in the Act in constituting the board.

According to the rules laid on the composition and structure of the board, the competent authority should appoint women activists and legal experts to the SSB.

The government has appointed only Health department officials to the Board which amounted to non-compliance with  Sec 14 (2) (f) of the PCPNDT Act. The said section of the Act states that the SSB should have three women (members of Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council), eminent social scientists, legal experts, eminent gynaecologists and obstetricians or experts in women health, eminent pediatricians or medical geneticists; eminent radiologists or sonologists.

Dr Vasundhara Bhupathi, whose tenure as member of the SSB ended in Oct 2012, said, “Ever since the tenure ended in October 2012, the government has not bothered to appoint members to the board. No complaints were attended to and no raids were conducted on any centres during this period.”

Dr Bhupathi said that even today people call her complaining about the gross violations of PCPNDT Act by sonography centres and hospitals. She added that there are still many hospitals, nursing homes and sonography centres in the City which are violating the guidelines and rules laid in PCPNDT Act. A few hospitals in the City are using mobile scanning machines and China-made portable machines to determine sex of the foetus, she added.

Dr Bhupathi said that the newly appointed members to the SSB hold important positions in the Health department and hospitals and would not be able to dedicate their time to hear the complaints and conduct the raids.

Health and Family Welfare Minister U T Khader, who is also the chairman of the board, told Deccan Herald, “If the relevant section of the Act is not complied with in appointing the board members, then necessary action will be taken to address the issue.” He said complaints with regard to violation will be attended to and the Act will be implemented effectively.



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