Train PCPNDT Appropriate authorities as per law: Karnataka HC tells state govt
Bengaluru: In a stringent direction to the state government, the Karnataka High Court has recently ordered it to conduct periodical training programmes for members of the Appropriate authority constituted under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Techniques Act (PCPNDT) so to execute the functions as required under various provisions of the Act.
The direction came in view of the petition filed by one concerned doctor who prayed the court to issue directions to the state of Karnataka, Health and family welfare department, and other authorities to strictly follow the observation of Supreme Court in a judgment wherein it had held:
"The provisions contained in Sections 22 and 23 shall be strictly adhered to. Section 23(2) shall be duly complied with and it shall be reported by the authorities so that the State Medical Council takes necessary action after the intimation is given under the said provision. The Appropriate Authorities who have been appointed under Sections 17(1) and 17(2) shall be imparted periodical training to carry out the functions as required under various provisions of the Act."
To specify, Section 23 of the PCPNDT deals with offences and penalties. It reads:
(1) Any medical geneticist, gynaecologist, registered medical practitioner or any person who owns a Genetic Counselling Centre, a Genetic Laboratory or a Genetic Clinic or is employed in such a Centre, Laboratory or Clinic and renders his professional or technical services to or at such a Centre, Laboratory or Clinic, whether on an honorary basis or otherwise, and who contravenes any of the provisions of this Act or rules made thereunder shall be punishable…
(2) The name of the registered medical practitioner shall be reported by the Appropriate Authority to the State Medical Council concerned for taking necrssary action including suspension of the registration if the charges are framed by the court and till the case is disposed of and on conviction for removal of his name from the register of theCouncil for a period of five years for the first offence and permanently for the subsequent offence.
(3) Any person who seeks the aid of any Genetic Counselling Centre, Genetic Laboratory, Genetic Clinic or ultrasound clinic or imagrng clinic or of a medical geneticist, gynaecologist, sonologist or imaging specialist or registered medical practitioner or any other person for sex selection or for conducting pre-natal diagnostic techniques on any pregnant woman for the purposes other than those specified in sub-section (2) of section 4, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees for the first offence and for any subsequent offence with imprisonment which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees.
(4) For the removal of doubts, it is hereby provided, that the provisions of sub-section (3) shall not apply to the woman who was compelled to undergo such diagnostic techniques or such selection.
In the background of the section, the division bench of honourable Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi has now directed the state Government, health dpeartment and Deputy Commissioner and district appropriate authority under PCPNDT Act to issue necessary directions to the concerned and ensure that periodical training is imparted to the Appropriate Authorities.
The orders issued by the court are as follows:
(i) We direct the State Government to issue a direction in writing to the Appropriate Authorities appointed under sub-section (2) of Section 17 of the Pre-conception and Fre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 (for short "the said Act of 1994") to comply with the requirements of sub-section (2) of Section 23 of the said Act of 1994. The direction shall be issued within a period of three weeks from today;
(ii) The State Government shall ensure that periodical training programs are conducted for giving training to the Appropriate Authorities appointed under sub-section (2) of Section 17 of the said Act of 1994;
Lastly, disposing of the petition, the court directed the state government to file an affidavit showing compliance of the directions on or before October 15.
Attached is the order in detail: