No bail hope for 6 months for Beed Doctor : Supreme Court

Clara Lewis, TNN Nov 14, 2012 MUMBAI: Taking a strong view on sex selection , the Supreme Court recently not only rejected the bail application of Dr Sudam Munde, accused of killing many female foetuses in Beed, but also directed that he apply for bail only after six months. In one of the cases, Munde and his wife Dr Saraswati Munde are accused of causing the death of a woman while carrying out an illegal abortion of a 24-week foetus at their Beed hospital this May.

The couple was arrested nearly three weeks later when the incident came to light.The SC on November 1 rejected Munde’s bail plea. Saraswati Munde has, however, been allowed bail subject to the satisfaction of the trial court. Parli in Beed district is infamous for female foeticide and families, not just from Maharashtra, but also from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka flock here to carry out sex-determination tests and illegal abortions.

Beed in the backward Marathwada region has also one of the worst child sex ratios in the 0-6 age group. According to the 2011 census, the ratio is a dismal 801 girls for every 1,000 boys. In 2001, it was 894 girls to 1,000 boys. This is not the first case registered against the Mundes, who are accused of running a highly sophisticated abortion racket and feeding the foetuses to hunter dogs on their farms.


Dr Gauri Rathod, civil surgeon, Beed government hospital, who has been at the forefront of the drive against sex selection  in the district said there were two more cases filed against Dr Munde under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prevention of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Act. In 2010, Satara-based social activist Varsha Deshpande had carried out a sting operation at the Mundes’ hospital that allegedly exposed illegal sex determination tests being conducted there. A case was registered against them but they were granted bail in 2011 on the condition that henceforth they would not conduct sex-determination tests . However, in May this year, the doctors allegedly carried out the abortion of a sugarcane worker Vijaymala Patekar, who was in the second trimester of pregnancy, at their hospital in Parli, which resulted in her death. Following this, district civil surgeon Gauri Rathod had appealed at the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court to cancel the couple’s bail as they breached the law again. The high court then cancelled their bail and ordered a non-bailable warrant against them, but Parli police did not issue it. The court also issued a show cause notice to the inspector of Parli police station asking why the warrant was not issued earlier against the doctors.


Beed: Where no law of the land applies

Surendra Gangan | Thursday, June 14, 2012

Is Beed district in Marathwada an isolated island where no law of the land is applicable?

Why is the administration of a so-called progressive state like Maharashtra helpless when almost every rule and norm has been violated for years? Why are marriages of minor girls, dowry practices and sex selection  not treated as crime here?

Such questions, which would disturb any normal mind, have not had any effect on the government or the political leaders who claim to be the torchbearers of the region, where  sex selection is an everyday affair, and where the butcher doctors of Parali proudly admit that theirs is an ‘abortion hub’ and dare the system to take them on.

Dr Sudam Munde, who according to the police is at large, used to throw female foetuses wrapped in polythene bags at social workers who would protest against him, openly challenging them. The district superintendent of police has requested the home department to shift the cases outside the district as his force was facing tremendous political pressure. The SP at least was candid enough to admit that some things are out of his control, but the collector has been brazenly claiming that there was nothing wrong in the system.

No activist is ready to believe that the culprits would be brought to book, as the doctor who the police say is absconding is readily available to sign his bail application. Even this much action against him has been possible only because a mother was killed along with the foetus six months ago. But even this action by the government is a case of too little too late, as the latest child ration fell to a further 801.

Here, both well-to-do families and the farm hands consider the birth of girl child a curse. The dowry system still prevails in some communities that dominate the district’s population and that has been the root cause for female foeticide. Marrying a girl without dowry — usually ranging from Rs5 lakh to Rs20 lakh — remains a dream. Parents of girls do not even wait for them to reach the age of 18 and marry them off immediately after they attain puberty. Factor in the rampant illiteracy, and the giving birth to a girl child in these villages becomes a nightmare.

The questions remain: Is our administration really interested in curbing these practices? Will the political heavyweights behind such practices be made to pay the price for their sins?

Maharashtra to take ‘gandhigiri’ route to curb sex selection

Sanjeev Shivadekar, TNN Jun 13, 2012, 10.06PM IST

MUMBAI: The state government will now be trying ‘gandhigiri’ to arrest declining girl child sex ratio in Maharashtra. The state government has decided to give a letter to every rural couple who gets married, explaining why sex selection  is a sin against humanity.

Satej Patil, minister of state for rural development said, “If government has to arrest the declining child sex ratio, there is need to create awareness about girl child among couples getting married. Also besides stringent laws, there is need for more target oriented awareness on the issue” “Roping in couple getting married in the drive would help the government in dealing with the issue. Hence, the rural development department has decided to direct gram panchayat members to keep tabs on marriages happening in their areas. The member of the said gram panchayat will be asked to attend the marriage ceremony and hand over a government letter explaining the importance of a girl child in the society,” Patil added.

The move from the state government comes following the recent incidents of sex selection  found in Beed district of Marathwada region. The census reveals that Maharashtra’s child sex ratio in 2011 was 833 girls per 1000 boys as against 913 per 1,000 boys in 2001. Beed district is the worst affected, with a drop of 93 in the last decade-894 girls in 2001 as against 801 in 2011.

Further replying to a query on when will be the first letter dispatched, Patil said, “Modalities to work out the plan is on. Next week, the draft of the letter that will be handed over to the couples will be finalised and subsequently the orders for initiating the drive will be issued.”

Also the minister has asked for a crackdown on medical shops selling abortion pills without proper prescription. Patil, minister of state for food and drug administration said, “There are reports that abortion pills are freely available as medical shops are selling these drugs without prescription from appropriate authority. To curb such practices, the department has asked FDA officials to conduct special drive in the state, especially in the districts having low girl child sex ratio.”

While many are criticising the state government for its failure to handle the issue, actor Amir Khan in his letter to public health minister Suresh Shetty has appreciated efforts taken by the Maharashtra government to deal with the declining girl child sex ratio. Last month the state government had written a letter to Khan, thanking the actor for taking up the social issue—declining child sex ratio.

Three doctors convicted in Maharashtra for violating anti-sex determination law

TOI,MUMBAI: Three doctors on Friday were convicted by a magistrate for failing to maintain proper F-form records.

Dr Varsha Kasturkar (gynaecologist), Dr Aruna Gavde (MBBS) and Dr Dinkar Mule (gynaecologist), practising in Kallam taluka of Osmanabad district in Marathwada region, have been convicted for violating the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act. Yunus Kharad, JMFC of Kallam taluka, sentenced the three doctors to a one-month rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on each for not having proper recordsof their patients. The case against these doctors was registered in June 2011.

The PCPNDT (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse, Amendment) Act 2003 was introduced to prevent unscrupulous use of ultrasonography scans to determine the sex of the unborn child. Form F is considered an important tool of the Act because it has every scan’s details.

Dr Ashok Thorat, medical superintendent of the rural hospital in Kallam, stated that during the ‘save the girl child campaign’, the department found that these three doctors had failed to maintain proper records of the patients.

“A case was registered against the erring doctors. The court too found these doctors guilty and subsequently directed to send these doctors for one month rigorous imprisonment and to fine them Rs 5,000,” Thorat said. “The department will even recommend to Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) to cancel the registration of these doctors,” Thorat added.

According to Mantralaya officials, this is the first conviction of a doctor under the PCPNDT Act this year. Last year, of the 314 cases which had been pending for several years, 78 were finalized, and there was conviction in 32 cases. Public health minister Suresh Shetty said, “Such verdicts from the judiciary against erring doctors will work as deterrent for those who are involved in illegal sex determination.”

However, Jignesh Thakker, general secretary, Indian Radiological and Imaging Association, differed on this point. “Not filling the F form is an offence. Stern action should be initiated against the doctors who do not comply with the norms. But having incomplete F forms merely cannot be the parameter to decide whether he/she (the doctor) is involved in illegal sex determination.”

Last year, following reports of the declining sex ratio in the state and cases of two female foetuses being found in Nulla in Beed district of Marathwada region, Shetty had directed his officials to crack down on sonography and abortion centres in the state, especially in districts having poor child sex ratio.

%d bloggers like this: