Pune radiologist sentenced to 3 years jail under PCPNDT Act; gets bail

She was convicted of conducting illegal sex determination tests along with late Dr M Ranade.

Nozia Sayyed
Hindustan Times, Pune
Dr Mathrani, a radiologist and sonologist, was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment (RI) and a fine of ₹10,000 by Judicial Magistrate First Class, Vishakha B Patil. (HT REPRESENTATIONAL PHOTO )

Dr Nina Mathrani, a city radiologist and sonologist who was booked in 2011 by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for violating many sections of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT), 1994, was sentenced to a three-year jail term on Tuesday. She was, however, released immediately on bail.

She was convicted of conducting illegal sex determination tests along with late Dr M Ranade.

The two doctors were booked for violating many sections under the PCPNDT Act, 1994, by PMC’s PCPNDT Cell in 2011, by the then head of the cell, Dr Vaishali Jadhav. Dr Mathrani said that she would be appealing against the judgement in a higher court.

Dr Mathrani, a radiologist and sonologist, was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment (RI) and a fine of ₹10,000 by Judicial Magistrate First Class, Vishakha B Patil.

Dr Vaishali Jadhav, the then assistant health officer of PMC, had filed the case in the court after finding many violations under the Act in 2011. Dr Jadhav said, “During my tenure as the head of PCPNDT Cell, I had filed 34 cases and since 2011 of the 34, already six doctors have been convicted, Mathrani is the seventh.”

According to Dr Jadhav, “This case stands apart as the doctor violated all possible sections of the PCPNDT. There was a decoy, a sting operation, illegal sex determination test, incomplete records were found, bribe, among others. The sting operation and decoy were arranged by Kiran Moghe, Janwadi Mahila Sangathan in association with other government authorities of the state. Later after finding out the irregularities we took it up and filed a case. After nine years of filing the case, the judgement was announced by the JMFC court.”

Moghe, state president of Janwadi, who helped frame the entire sting, said, “We along with Tathapi, another NGO, performed the sting operation. It is important to know that due diligence of Dr Jadhav paid off and finally the court announced Mathrani’s conviction. We had presented all evidence related to the case like video clips, money taken by the doctors. Still it took eight years to come to a conclusion. However, we are happy with it.”

The woman in the decoy couple who was directed by Moghe to Dr Ranade’s clinic said, she acted as instructed and told Dr Ranade that they were under pressure to have a son and wanted to know the gender of the foetus.

“He explained to us how the abortion is done and directed us to Dr Mathrani’s clinic. Before directing he gave us a letter which had a code word and we were warned to keep mum. On visiting Dr Mathrani, she saw the letter, conducted the test and we were out. She did not ask us anything. A of total ₹8,000 were taken from us as bribe. Dr Ranade even told us how to check the gender of the aborted foetus,” the woman said.

The woman, who was then three months pregnant, gave birth to a baby girl later. She said, “We are happy that Mathrani got convicted, but there could be many Ranades and Mathranis who need to be nabbed. It is a deeply rooted nexus which needs to be exposed.”

Anand Randive, lawyer, PMC health department, said, “This is a landmark case as the doctors were found to have violated all the sections under PCPNDT Act like Section 4 (1), 4 (2); Section 5 (1) (b) (c); Section 6 (b) (c), rule 9 and 10 (1A). The accused shall now undergo rigorous imprisonment of three years for offence punishable under Section 23 of PCPNDT Act for breach of all sections.”

First Published: May 15, 2019 14:35 IST

3 Pune docs booked for pregnant woman & her child’s death


Three doctors affiliated to a private hospital in Chakan were booked on Friday for allegedly administering wrong medicines to a 26-year-old pregnant woman, leading to her death as well as that of the child on May 9.

The Chakan police identified the woman as Sapna Pawale of Shikrapur. Her husband, Sudhir, has registered a compliant. “We have booked the doctors under IPC sections 304a (causing death by negligence) and 34 (conspiracy),” an officer of Chakan police said. He added Sapna was shifted to the hospital on Thursday afternoon after she developed labour pains. “She was nine-months pregnant and all her medical reports were normal,” he said.

In the complaint, Sudhir, who works in a private company, stated that the three doctors checked his wife and told him that everything was fine. “The doctors then administered some injections and some tablets. They also provided IV fluid to her, following which Sapna’s health started deteriorating,” the complaint stated.

The officer said, seeing her condition, the doctors started the delivery procedure. “She gave birth to a still-born female,” the officer said. As Sapna’s condition deteriorated further, the doctors told Sudhir to shift her to another private hospital in Thergaon. The woman died while her husband was taking her to another hospital.

The police have seized pertinent documents from the hospital and also papers listing the medicines administered to Sapna, which will be sent to a state government committee of medical officers. “Further legal action will be initiated against the doctors only after the committee report,” the officer said

Free of cost deliveries at PGI, Chandigarh |Treatment of infants up to 1 year will also be free



Some good news for the parents-to-be. The Gynaecology Department of PGI, Chandigarh will charge no money for the deliveries and it will be free of cost. In fact, treatment for babies up to the age of 1 year will also not be chargeable. The private hospitals charge almost Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,000 for Cesarean sections but, PGI which used to charge Rs 1,000 excluding food will now give this facility free of cost.

The Medical Superintendent, PGI, Professor AK Gupta, said, “Since the government has been providing this service in all its district hospitals free of cost, charging from the patients will sound unreasonable. He said, “We thought that in a tertiary care hospital which is an institution of national importance, under the act of Parliament, charging for a service which is free in all district hospitals shall be not justifiable.”

An average of 490 complex deliveries take place in a month in PGI. “All these deliveries are complicated and therefore unlike the district hospital, volumes are restricted. So
exempting the cost of the delivery and other hospital charges can be borne by the institution,” said a senior faculty member.

However, there is a major drawback also, as the government hospital has limited resources. According to a doctor in the Government Multi-Specialty, Hospital, Sector 16,  “There is lack of beds and other infrastructure. But since it is free, two patients have to be adjusted in a bed. This is not the way to implement such policies.”

Karnataka sex determination racket: Health department urges media to help crackdown

In a major crackdown on the rampant determination of sex in the state of Karnataka, the government is now considering the option of conducting stung operations on doctors.

Karnataka sex-determination racket

The department will give Rs 50,000 to the media houses for every successful raid (Representative Image).

Karnataka: In a major crackdown on the rampant determination of sex in the state of Karnataka, the government is now considering the option of conducting sting operations on doctors. The Health Department wishes to conduct the sting operations with the help of media houses.

The sting operations will be an attempt to track radiologists and gynaecologists who are involved in the illegal determination of sex. The initiative intends to use pregnant women as decoy for erring doctors.

While talking to Mirror Now, Dr Prabhakar, Director of State Health and Family Welfare Department urged media houses in the state to help them in the crackdown. Dr Prabhakar stated that in turn for their support, the department will give Rs 50,000 to the media houses for every successful raid.

While the department intends on conducting raids all across the state, the doctors have a contrary opinion. Dr Raviraj, the RMO of Lakeside Medical Centre and Hospital stated that while he welcomed the initiative, he questioned the implementation of the same. He further stated that doctors should be given a set of guidelines so that they can act accordingly.

A similar initiative was started in 2016 where the health department had put out a newspaper advertisement asking women to volunteer for a sting operation. The advertisement tanked as no one volunteered to be a part of the operation.

Sex determination was made illegal in India in 1994. The ban was passed under the Pre-conception and prenatal diagnostic techniques (Prohibition of sex selection) Act.

Selective abortions killed 22.5 million female foetuses in China, India

Abortions lead to gender ratio distortions in 12 Asian and European countries

A doctor performs a sonogram on a pregnant woman. Photo: Getty Images

A doctor performs a sonogram on a pregnant woman. Photo: Getty Images A doctor performs a sonogram on a pregnant woman. Photo: Getty Images

Abortions based on sex selection have led to larger-than-thought variation in sex ratios, reveals a global studypublished in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The natural gender ratio for humans is 100 female babies to 105 male babies. But this ratio has been distorted due to abortions, finds the study conducted across 202 countries. While specifically focusing on how selective abortions by women impact the sex ratio, it focuses on 12 Asian and European countries which favour male babies.

22.5 million females missing in China and India

Nearly 23.1 million females are missing due to sex-selective abortions in 12 Asian and European countries finds the five-year study. The study has revealed the largest differences in gender ratios from China and India. China currently has approximately 11.9 million missing females and India has approximately 10.6 million missing females

China had the worst sex ratio in 2005; less women to produce babies

The sex ratio in China was worst in 2005 where approximately 100 female bables were born in comparison to 118 male births.  Even though China lifted a law prohibiting more than one child per couple, population growth has continued to stagnate due to the lack of women to produce babies.

Overall, sex ratio in India has declined from 903 in 2007 to 898 in 2018, as per Niti Aayog.

10 other countries with skewed sex-ratio

The other countries identified with sex ratio imbalance (SRB) were Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Montenegro, Taiwan, Tunisia and Vietnam.

What led to sex-selective abortion

Preference for sons and improved technology for prenatal sex diagnosis, along with declining fertility level are the three main factors that led to sex-selective abortion said the study citing a United Nations study. Legal medical abortion for several weeks after onset of pregnancy has also been misused.

Fertility fell to low levels around the world that resulted in a “squeezing effect”. Sex-selective abortion is a way to avoid large families while still having a male child. Necessary conditions for the occurrence of sex-selective abortions include a large tolerance for induced abortion from both the population and the medical establishment, available techniques for early sex detection, and legal medical abortion for several weeks after onset of pregnancy.

An up-to-date systematic analysis for the SRB — one of the most fundamental demographic indicators — for all countries over time using all available data with reproducible estimation method is urgently needed.  So, this global assessment of natural variations in the sex ratio at birth done using a new estimation method must be considered while estimating population in the future for effective policy and programmes said University of Massachusetts Amherst biostatistician Leontine Alkema , associate professor in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, who led the study.


Why many women in Maharashtra’s Beed district have no wombs

Cane-cutting contractors are unwilling to hire women who menstruate, so hysterectomies have become the norm


“You will hardly find women with wombs in these villages. These are villages of womb-less women,” says Manda Ugale, gloom in her eyes. Sitting in her tiny house in Hajipur village, in the drought-affected Beed district of Maharashtra’s Marathwada region, she struggles to talk about the painful topic.


Women in Vanjarwadi, where 50 per cent of the women have had hysterectomies, say that it is the “norm” in villages to remove the uterus after having two or three children.


The majority of these women are cane cutters and migrate to the sugar belt of western Maharashtra during the cane cutting season; with the drought intensifying, the number of migrants multiplies. “The mukadam (contractor) is keen to have women without wombs in his group of cane cutters,” says Satyabhama, another cane-cutter.


Lakhs of men and women from the region migrate to work as cane cutters between October and March. Contractors draw up contracts with the husband and wife counted as one unit. Cane cutting is a rigorous process and if the husband or wife takes a break for a day, the couple has to pay a fine of ₹500 per day to the contractor for every break.


‘Periods hinder work’


Menstrual periods hinder work and attract fines. The answer, in Beed, is to go in for a hysterectomy so the women no longer have them.


“After a hysterectomy, there is no chance of menstrual periods. So, there is no question of taking a break during cane cutting. We cannot afford to lose even a rupee,” says SatyaBhama. Contractors say that during menstrual periods, women want a break for a day or two and work is halted.


“We have a target to complete in a limited timeframe and hence we don’t want women who would have periods during cane cutting,” said Dada Patil, a contractor. Patil insists that he and other contractors don’t force the women to have a surgery; rather, it is a choice made by their families.


Interestingly, the women said that the contractors give them an advance for a surgery and that the money is recovered from their wages.


Achyut Borgaonkar of Tathapi, an organisation that has conducted a study on this issue, said: “In the cane cutter community, menstrual periods are considered a problem and they think surgery is the only option to get rid of it. But this has a serious impact on the health of the women as they develop a hormonal imbalance, mental health issues, gain weight etc. We observed that even young girls at the age of 25 have undergone this surgery.”


The rationale


Bandu Ugale, Satyabhama’s husband and a cane cutter himself, explains the logic behind the practice. “A couple gets about ₹250 after cutting a tonne of sugarcane. In a day, we cut about 3-4 tonnes of cane and in an entire season of 4-5 months a couple cuts about 300 tonnes of sugarcane. What we earn during the season is our yearly income as we don’t get any work after we come back from cane cutting,” says Ugale. “We can’t afford to take a break even for a day. We have to work even if we have health problems. There is no rest and women having periods is an additional problem,” he explains.


Septuagenarian Vilabai says that the life of a cane cutter woman is hellish. She hints that there is repeated sexual exploitation of women by contractors and their men. “Cane cutters have to live in cane fields or near sugar mills in a tent. There are no bathrooms and toilets. It becomes even more difficult for a woman if she has periods in these conditions,” says the old woman.


Many women in villages in this parched landscape said private medical practitioners prescribe a hysterectomy surgery even if they complain of normal abdominal pain or a white discharge.


BL impactWomb removal in Beed: NCW issues notice to Maharashtra


Lakhs of men and women from the Marathwada region migrate to work as cane cutters between October and March   –  RAJENDRA JADHAV.PIC

Harassed by husband for 30 years for not conceiving, Maha woman gives birth at 52



Narmada Wakode, a 52-year-old woman from a remote village in Akola district, was so desperate to have a baby that she was even ready to die after giving birth. Her husband had been harassing her for the past 30 years for not conceiving.

Doctors at the Acharya Vinoba Bhave Rural Hospital attached to Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences in Wardha converted her dream into a reality. Wakode conceived using an assisted reproductive technology (test tube baby). The baby girl is now over a month old.

“Besides blocked tubes, Narmada had many other infertility-related problems. She came to the hospital about a year back with very high sugar. It took us two months to control her diabetes. But she was lucky to have conceived in the first cycle. We used a special IVF technique called as Intra-Cytoplasmic Morphologically Selected Sperm Injection or IMSI,” said Dr Deepti Shrivastava, director of the Wardha test tube baby centre, who treated her all through the pregnancy.

Dr Shrivastava said that infertility is emerging as a big social problem. Wakode’s husband was an alcoholic and often ill-treated her. “Fearing her husband, Narmada had stayed back at the hospital for all the eight and half months after conceiving. No family member was present with her when she was to deliver through a caesarean section. But the child has made such a big difference to the life of this couple that the husband has quit drinking,” she told TOI.

Though the baby was delivered on February 12, the mother is yet to be discharged as they wanted to ensure that the baby was normal. They also could not afford to travel frequently to the hospital.

Dr Shrivastava says Narmada’s case was a real challenge due to her age. “But since she was not ready to give up even I decided to do my best. Though the hospital charges meagre amount for IVF, she was ready to spend whatever she had,” she added.

Wakode, who is a resident of Changalwadi village in Telhara taluka of Akola district, required minute monitoring and hormonal support all through. Her husband Shriram told TOI that he had no words to express his feelings. “I am very happy,” he said.

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