Licences of 5 sonography centres suspended, three machines sealed


, TNN | Jun 7, 2012, 05.43AM IST

 

AURANGABAD: Licences of five sonography centres in the city were suspended and machines in three of them sealed after they were found to have violated the Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994.

Health department officials of Aurangabad Municipal Corporation carried out the action. All these sonography centres were attached to maternity homes, said Jaishree Kulkarni, AMC health officer, on Wednesday. The city has 192 sonography centres.

“We have launched a drive to examine sonography centres to stem female foeticide. We found that many centres were attached to maternity homes and had not maintained proper records,” she told TOI.

The hospitals whose licences have been suspended are Vinayak Khedkar’s Jyoti Hospital, Nirmala Kadam’s Dhanwantari Hospital, Manjushri Saoji’s Saoji-Tupkari hospital, the Prabhashri Hospital of Manisha Belsare and Deshmukh Hospital of Sachin Deshmukh, she said. Six teams will continue to check all centres and keep a watch.

A similar drive has been initiated in Jalna, civil surgeon Pratap Jadhav told TOI.

“We have identified at least 40 nursing homes with sonography and medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) centres which are suspected to be indulging in abortions. So far, we have examined 18 sonography centres out of 101 in the district. For the next two days, we will concentrate on 34 MTP centres in Jalna town. Six teams have been formed, each comprising revenue department officials, doctors and policem

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Radiologists must get chance to clarify: Bombay HC


Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The Bombay high court has stated that any competent authority filing a case against a radiologist under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection Act), 1994, should allow ample opportunity to the doctor to explain his or her stand before registering and offence. Further, the authority should consider taking legal advice before registering such a case.

These observations were made by a single bench of Justice AV Nirgude, which quashed a criminal complaint against 60-year-old doctor Uma Shankarrao Rachewad, who was charged under various sections of the Act.

The bench said, “When the competent authority visits a clinic, after inspection s/he should record the statement of the person against whom s/he intends to file the case. In such a statement, such a person would get ample opportunity to put forward his or her explanation. The competent authority under this Act should consider each case on its merits, examine it meticulously, preferably with the help of a legal advisor, and then file a complaint in the court.”

According to the case registered against Dr Rachewad, it was alleged that on March 31, 2011, when officials visited his clinic, they saw that a number of F forms were filled out with “NA” (not applicable); forms pertaining to cases examined between March 8 and March 26 were not filled; and consent /declaration forms relating to cases examined between April 2009 and March 2010 were not present. Moreover, the clinic did not have signboards stating that pre-natal sex tests were not carried out there.

The court noted that the “NA” on the F forms was justified. Furthermore, it was observed that when the officials visited the clinic and did not find the consent /declaration forms, they should have asked for an explanatio

Mukhbir Yojna scripts a success story in state


JAIPUR: The Mukhbir Yojna, which was launched in January to intensify the fight against sex selection, has now started paying dividends. In one of its major achievements, a doctor was caught red-handed for alleged involvement in sex determination in Jaipur‘s Vaishali Nagar area on Wednesday.

An official of the Pre-conception and pre natal diagnostic techniques (PCPNDT) cell said, “The Mukhbir Yojna has started showing results as we are getting tip offs on illegal practices. The doctor who was caught red-handed was an outcome of the Mukhbir Yojna.”

The government introduced the Yojna under which a person providing confirmed information about the involvement of a doctor or a medical staff in sex determination will get a reward of Rs 25,000. A reward of equal prize money has also been set aside for those who can give information about unregistered and illegal sonography machines.

The official said a day before the raid (on Tuesday), the PCPNDT cell received information about the doctor’s involvement in sex determination.

( How long will this work , thats the question )

Suresh Shetty says ‘silent observer’ microchip is totally useless


March 18, 2012 , Mumbai Mirror, Jyoti Shelar

The state health department has finally decided to put an end to the usage of the ‘silent observer’ – a microchip meant to deter people from conducting sex determination tests, by keeping a record of the tests conducted.

Calling it completely ineffective, state health minister, Suresh Shetty, said that the piece of equipment, which was being tested in Kolhapur district, will not be made introduced in other parts of the state.

The decision was made at a Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) meeting held this week. “The chip was only introduced because of some over-enthusiastic government officials in Kolhapur,” said Dr Kishore Taori, president of Maharashtra Medical Council. He added that no technology has been developed to interpret the recordings made. “No one even knows how to retrieve the images stored,” said Taori.

“It is also clear that there is a strong nexus between government officials and suppliers of the microchip, which is why its use was being propagated.”

The members of Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRAI) have been opposing the installation of the silent observer, saying that its usage in unethical. The IRAI had also suspended 40-odd members of the association from Kolhapur for installing the microchip. Members say that installing the silent observer is a complete breach of a patient’s privacy.

Court tells Centre to clear stand on sex determination tests


Rosy Sequeira, TNN

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Union government and Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation to explain their stand on petitions filed by six Navi Mumbai diagnostic clinics whose sonography machines were seized in June 2011. Their licences were also suspended by the NMMC medical officer, the appropriate authority under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act for irregularities in maintaining records.

A division bench of Justice D D Sinha and Justice V K Tahilramani was hearing petitions by Dr Rahul Wani, Dr Disha Minocha, Dr Anu Vij, Dr Sujeet Dange and Dr Shilpa Patil and Apollo Clinic , urging the court to order the appropriate authority to forthwith release their seized machines. Their appeals before the additional director, health service, were also rejected . They have also challenged the constitutional validity of the Act itself.

Their advocate V M Thorat argued that no notices were issued, no opportunity of hearing given and no reasons were recorded by the appellate authority before suspending their licences. He said there was no ground to exercise exceptional powers under Section 20 (3) and it was also necessary to show that it is done in public interest. “We have not violated anything,” said Thorat, adding that the irregularities were not filling and maintaining the Form F register in the format required.

NMMC’s advocate Sandeep Marne submitted that considering that the Act’s objective is to regulate the use of diagnostic techniques in view of the falling girl child ratio, the NMMC has rightly invoked the exceptional powers in public interest. Since the petitioners have also challenged the constitutional validity of the Act, the judges directed the Union government to file a reply observing that the issue will have a bearing on a larger scale. The hearing has been posted after three weeks.

Health department to challenge acquittals for sex determination


Claiming that many offenders who have violated the anti-sex determination act are not convicted owing to lack of evidence or improper observance of legal procedures; the department is now planning to re-examine and challenge verdicts meted out in 45 cases

The shockingly skewed sex ratio in Maharashtra has made the state government jump to a more stringent implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.

In an attempt to improve the poor conviction rate of cases related to violation of the act, the State Health department has now decided to file appeals in the many cases in which errant ultrasound centres in the state were acquitted or dismissed by the court earlier.

The Health Department has decided to take a second, closer look at 45-odd cases in which the courts had either acquitted or dismissed the sonography centres who allegedly violated the act. “We are studying each case in detail, and five cases are already fit for appeal. The department is very serious about the implementation of the act, and we are taking all possible measure to improve the sex ratio,” said Dr Uddhao Gawande, Deputy Director, state health department.

After the census figures were revealed last year, the government had asked authorities, including the BMC, to survey all ultrasound clinics and check whether the act was being implemented.

A few months back, the state had even requested the courts to examine cases regarding PC-PNDT violation on an urgent basis.

Advocate Varsha Deshpande, founder of Satara-based NGO Lek Laadki, said, “Besides filing appeals, it needs to be examined why the acquittals or dismissals took place. Who is to blame — the attitude of the judiciary or the prosecutor, or the authority that framed the complaint inadequately?”

Dr A L Sharda, Population First, NGO, said, “As per the act, as soon as the machine is seized, the appropriate authority has to file the case in the court, but that seldom happens. In fact most of the cases are disposed after extracting a fine, which is a violation of the law. The few cases that reach the court are also not filed properly. Lack of proper evidence is another factor.”

Since the inception of the PC-PNDT Act, a total of 154 criminal cases have been filed against
different sonography centres in the state.

New website for F-forms
The government has finally set up its own website ” http://www.pcpndtmumbai.org, onto which radiologists can upload the F form ” a mandatory document ” after conducting every obstetric ultrasound. Till a few days back, the forms were uploaded onto a private website. This move had raised the ire of radiologists. Taking note of their apprehensions, the civic body decided to shift the form filling interface to a http://www.pcpndtmumbai.org, a government website.

What is the PNDT Act?
The PNDT Act came into force in 1994, in order keep a check on the rampant incidence of female foeticide. The Act prohibits determination and disclosure of the sex of foetuses. It also prohibits any public notices advertising the pre-natal determination of sex, and sets down the quanta of punishment for its violation as three years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000. The PNDT Act had been amended keeping in mind the emerging technologies for selection of sex, before and after conception. These amendments came into effect from February 14, 2003, and the act in its present form is referred to as the PC-PNDT Act.

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