Victims’ silence roadblock in conviction-Congress MLA Praniti Shinde



Aug 9, 2012, 05.37AM IST TNN[ Sanjeev Shivadekar ]

MUMBAI: The state administration says that prosecution and securing conviction in sex determinAtion cases are challenging tasks since the victims are statutorily not the complainants in such cases.

A senior official said thatsexs election e cases remain confined between the government and the errant doctors because it is not mandatory on victims to file complaints. Unlike other crimes against women, “where the victim is often the complainant, in cases of sex determination and female foeticide the state is the complainant against the criminal medicos. As a result, the state has to take the initiative in unearthing such cases, employing techniques like sting operations,” the official added.

He explained that the practice of victims not being made complainant is in place to prevent the women from suffering “social embarrassment”.

“Nevertheless, victims should be prodded to turn complainant. If a victim comes forward at the stage of filing compliant, it adds teeth to the case and makes investigation , prosecution and conviction a well-coordinated task. To protect her, the victim’s identity should not be revealed at any stage,” the Mantralaya official said.

Congress MLA Praniti Shinde, who is a member of the state PCPNDT committee, too maintained that victims should step forth and help fight the menace of sex selection . “The society should encourage victims to lodge complaints against crooked doctors. The government, for its part, should ensure that the victims’ names are not revealed and there is no danger to their lives,” Shinde said.

The increasing incidence of  sex selection  has, over the years, put the ruling Democratic Front government in a tight spot. It adopted a slew of measures to curb the menace , thanks largely to the activism of voluntary and women’s rights groups.

Health minister Suresh Shetty, during the recent monsoon session of the legislature , announced that plans are afoot to also book the family members of victims in sexdetermination cases. Shetty declared that the government would seek the Centre’s opinion for slapping homicide charge against those involved in  sex selection

A government official said the reason for poor conviction in sex determination cases, apart from victims not being part of them, is the lack of paperwork and scrutiny before cases are filed. “Following an outcry over the declining child sex ratio, the authorities swung into action and started raiding sonography centres and hospitals. But many times officials, in a hurry, do not bother to prepare a watertight case. Furthermore , lawyers taking up such cases on behalf of the government do not understand the importance of the matter. Insufficient paperwork and poor homework, therefore, lead to acquittals of medicos,” the official added.

Shinde cited the instance of an additional public prosecutor who remained absent from the hearing in a Solapur court of a criminal appeal against a doctor booked under the PCPNDT Act. “The lawyer’s behaviour was indefensible.”



Jharkhand not learning from Maharshtra- to use ‘silent observer’ (SIOB)

It plans to install satellite observation system at all the ultrasound clinics and link them with the district administration office

Submitted on 05/30/2012 – 09:27:21 AM

Ranchi: The Jharkhand government would soon install ultra sound tracking technology device called ‘silent observer’ (SIOB) at ultrasound clinics across the state to check sex selection .

As a pilot project the new technology will be introduced in five districts — Ranchi, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Jamshedpur and Hazaribagh — of the state.

The new technology to be used in will facilitate linking of all private ultra sonographic laboratories with a high capacity computer device at the deputy commissioners’ (DC) offices.

The main server of the ‘silent observer’ will be at the collectorate. Also, the devices would remain connected to each other. It’s a small device, which would be attached to sonography machines.

It captures the sonography image. It records personal data of the patient including the images. The server at collectorate would enable the officials to monitor all the sonography tests being conducted in the city.

The district administration will make use of the data collected at the server to verify that whether a particular pregnant woman, who underwent sonography on such a date, delivered a baby or not or she has aborted the child.

“The records will also form basis for taking suitable legal action against the violators of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act,” an official said.

FASS  has maintained the position that technology cannot root out social problems and  after wasting so much money on the software, government better use it for implementation of PCPNDT ACT  

Maharashtra -21 docs in trouble for flouting sex test rules #goodnews

 | Aug 8, 2012, 02.48AM IST


MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Medical Council(MMC) has suspended the registration of 21 doctors and warned another 12 for their alleged involvement in sex determination tests, which they conducted by flouting the rules under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.

To practise in the state, all doctors have to be registered with the MMC. “The council received 50 proposals for initiating action against erring doctors. Registration of 21 doctors were suspended and 12 doctors were let off after being warned against conducting sex determination tests. Action against 17 is either pending with or being processed by the MMC ,” a senior health official said.

“If the MMC suspends a doctor’s registration, then s/he cannot practice for five years or till court gives him/her a clean chit. The doctor’s membership will be permanently terminated, if s/he is convicted,” said Dr Kishore Tawri, president of MMC that has the power to suspend doctors. , temporarily or permanently.

If a doctor is caught flouting the Act a second time, his/her registration is supposed to be cancelled and he/she can never practise.

Most of the suspended doctors are from rural Maharashtra, especially Beed and Jalgaon, which figure on the list of districts having poor child sex ratio. According to the census, the state’s child sex ratio in 2011 was 833 girls per 1,000 boys against 913 per girls per 1,000 boys in 2001. The worst record is that of Beed, which registered a drop of 93 girls in the past decade; from 894 girls in 2001, it went down to 801 in 2011.

Some senior health officials are displeased with the MMC for letting off 12 doctors without taking stern action. “Letting them go with a mere warning is not in good taste,” an official said. Refuting the allegation, Tawri said, “Doctors who were given warning and allowed to practise had flouted rules in 2001. The PCPNDT Act came in force in 2003. So, the council had no choice but to let them go.” giving warning to these 12 doctors,”

On Tuesday, a meeting was held in Mantralaya to take stock of the implementation of the PCPNDT Act in the state. It was chaired by public health minister Suresh Shetty and attended by additional chief secretary (health) T C Benjamin and senior BMC and home department officials.

“Ways to curbsex selection  in the state were reviewed,” Shetty said.The female foeticide grabbed headlines and attention of the politicians to the issue after a doctor couple from Beed district— Dr Sudam Munde and his wife Dr Saraswati were found guilty of conducting illegal abortion in their clinic. The Munde couple has been booked for culpable homicide in connection with death of a woman while undergoing abortion at their hospital in May, this year.

FASS protests Maharashtra govt’s plans to slap murder charges for sex selection

We, the undersigned women’s organizations, strongly protest the statement made by the Health Minister, Mr Suresh Shetty who wants to recommend to the Central Government the application of section 302 (murder charges) against woman, husband, relatives and the doctors for cases of “sex selection”.

According to the PCPNDT Act, sex selection (the correct legal term) itself is a crime and the doctors involved should be punished as per the provisions under the act. The pregnant woman on whom sex selection is performed or undertaken is not an offender according to the act. This should be upheld in Maharashtra.

We have always demanded the continuous and strict monitoring of sonography centers, hospitals and nursing homes and strict action against all unlicensed centers. Instead of concentrating on this issue and doctors who misuse medical technology, the discussion in the assembly focused on abortions. According to the MTP Act, abortions are a women’s right. We fear that applying section 302 (IPC) would curtail women’s access to safe abortion services.

We demand that the law deals strictly with those who perform the crime of sex selection. The political protection to erring doctors is a serious problem in Maharashtra and the government should take steps to put an end to political interference in implementation of PCPNDT Act.

Committed Communities Development Trust Population First
Population first
Stree Mukti Sanghthana

Savitribai Phule Gender Resource Centre
Forum Against Sex Selection

Beed Doctor duo slapped with culpable homicide – Illegal abortion case

, TNN | Jun 19, 2012,

MUMBAI: A day after Beed doctors—Sudam Munde and his wife Saraswati—surrendered before the Parli police, the state government is contemplating hiring Ujjwal Nikamas the public prosecutor to argue the state’s case against the couple.The Parli magistrate court on Monday sent the doctor couple, accused of conducting illegal abortions, to police custody till June 30.

The police have booked the couple for culpable homicide under section 304 of the IPC. However, the health department has asked the police department to also add the charge of death due to negligence under section 304 (A) of the IPC against the couple.

On Monday, public health minister Suresh Shetty met principal secretary (law) Vijay Achaliya, health secretary Bhushan Gagrani and family welfare commissioner Vikas Gharge. The meeting was held to build a strong case against the couple. According to health department officials, hiring a top lawyer for the case was discussed at the meeting. “Ujjwal Nikam is one of the names being considered by the department. Also, appointing a senior lady police officer to conduct further investigations was discussed,” an official said.

Senior NCP leader and PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal too has demanded slapping of stringent sections against the Munde couple.

Spelling more trouble for the Mundes and those who helped them, the health ministry has decided to also ask the police to find out who sheltered the couple, who were on the run for the last one month. “Cops should take the driver, who brought the couple to the police station, into custody and find out where all the doctors visited over the last three weeks,” a senior Mantralaya official said. “The government has also decided to club all cases against Munde to prepare a stronger case,” the official added.

Maharashtra to put sex test clinics on ‘notice’

Maharashtra to put sex test clinics on ‘notice’

, TNN | Jun 16, 2012, 02.00AM IST

MUMBAI: The state government is trying out a new idea to check the declining child sex ratio in Maharashtra. The public health department has decided to plaster notices on erring radiology centres and clinics to inform citizens about the doctors being involved in sex determination tests.A decision to this effect was taken last week in Mantralaya while discussing measures that the state government needs to take to curbsex selection in Maharashtra. The meeting—chaired by public health minister Suresh Shetty—was attended by Vikas Kharge (commissioner, family welfare) and other officials of the health department.A senior health department official stated that plastering notices on clinics of the erring doctors will serve two purpose—one to embarrass the erring doctor for his/her involvement in sex determination tests and also to inform the government machinery (police and public health department officials) will get to know if any clinic is operating despite being served notice.”Modalities on the content of the notice have been worked out. The system to paste notices on clinics of erring doctors will soon be started in the state,” the official added.

Meanwhile, a senior public health department official has expressed displeasure with the home department for failing to trace the doctor-couple in Beed. “Dr Sudam Munde and his wife Dr Saraswati are absconding for more than three weeks. The police department has failed to trace the whereabouts of the Munde couple. If in a state like Maharashtra—known for having the best brains in the police force—the doctors can’t be traced, than it puts a serious question mark on the network and the ability of the police officials,” the official added.

However, home department officials have refuted the allegations. “A team of police officials has been formed to trace the culprits in the Beed case. A few members of this police team are in neighbouring states to locate the erring doctor couple,” a senior IPS official said. “We will solve the case soon,” he added.

The state government had ordered CID probe into the Beed incident, following death of a pregnant woman while undergoing an abortion on May 18. Dr Munde, who allegedly performed the operation, is at large since the incident.

Team to curb illegal centres in Vasai-Virar

MUMBAI: The Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) has formed a team of nine doctors to check illegal sex determination tests in the region. Apart from inspecting sonography centres and maternity homes, the team will seal unused sonography machines. In Navghar-Manikpur, the team of doctors recently sealed two unused sonography machines.

Recent raids conducted on unrecognised doctors revealed that many were running maternity homes. There are a total 86 approved sonography centres in Vasai-Virar. The health department of the VVMC has begun inspecting the Form F records done before conducting ultrasound tests on pregnant women at these centres.

Maternity homes and sonography centres have been directed to furnish adequate records of patients and details of tests done. Diagnostic centres and maternity wards have been directed to prominently display ‘no-sex determination’ boards. –Sandhya Nair

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?

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