STOP Harassment of Obstetricians, Radiologists: IMA demands review, repeal, re-conception of PCPNDT
New Delhi: Responding to the Supreme Court judgment on the penal provisions of the PCPNDT Act, the IMA has demanded the review of the entire act calling it a source of harassment to doctors.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that non-maintenance/Incomplete Form F under the PC-PNDT Act would continue to attract strong penal provisions including suspension and criminal cases as the Supreme court in a thorough judgement refused to water down the relevant provisions of the act stating that Complete contents of Form ‘F’ are held to be mandatory
The court rejected the writ petition has been filed by the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) that highlighted the issues and problems affecting the practice of obstetricians and gynaecologists across the country under the Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994.
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Responding to the judgment, the IMA has demanded a major overhaul of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, saying the legislation in its present form has led to "harassment" of obstetricians and radiologists and has "miserably failed" in restoring the sex ratio of the country.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) demand came after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of Sections 23(1) and 23(2) of the act.
Section 23(1) of the Act calls for criminal punishment for violations under the Act (imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees and on any subsequent conviction, with imprisonment which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees.
Section 23(2) of the Act empowers the State Medical Council to suspend the registration of any doctor indefinitely, who is reported by the Appropriate Authority for necessary action, during the pendency of trial.
The main purpose of enacting the PCPNDT Act was to stop misuse of sex selection techniques and prevent female foeticides.
"IMA demands a reconception and nothing short of this is acceptable to the medical profession. This is a black law and has miserably failed in achieving its objective in the 24 years of its dubious existence.
"The layman's approach of the ill-conceived legislation has only resulted in unending harassment of every single practising obstetrician and radiologist in the country. The sex ratio of the country has in fact deteriorated...," IMA president Santanu Sen said.
According to the IMA, no movement for the girl child can succeed without the partnership and wholehearted support of the medical profession.
"It is completely unacceptable to presume that every obstetrician and radiologist is culpable of sex selection and female foeticide and singling out the ultrasound machines and the doctors as a source of evil by the law. Culpability of the involved couple and the family should be brought under the majesty of the law as well," said R V Asokan, secretary general of IMA.
"Time has come to review the effectiveness of the law in addressing the issue. To repeal the current law and re-conceive one with equal responsibility and participation of everyone concerned will be the right way to go. The medical profession reserves the right to withdraw appropriate services and resist all the harassments and injustice inflicted on it," Sen added.