Pre Conception Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994
An Act to provide for the prohibition of sex selection,before or after conception,and for regulation of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for the purposes of detecting genetic abnormalities or metabolic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities or certain congenital malformations or sex linked disorders and for the prevention of their misuse for sex determination leading to female foeticide and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The Salient Features of the Pre Conception Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994:
- The Act provides for the prohibition of sex selection, before or after conception.
- It regulates the use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques, like ultrasound and amniocentesis by allowing them their use only to detect few cases.
- No laboratory or centre or clinic will conduct any test including ultrasonography for the purpose of determining the sex of the foetus.
- No person, including the one who is conducting the procedure as per the law, will communicate the sex of the foetus to the pregnant woman or her relatives by words, signs or any other method.
- Any person who puts an advertisement for prenatal and preconception sex determination facilities in the form of a notice, circular, label, wrapper or any document, or advertises through interior or other media in electronic or print form or engages in any visible representation made by means of hoarding, wall painting, signal, light, sound, smoke or gas, can be imprisoned for up to three years and fined Rs. 10,000.
- The Act mandates compulsory registration of all diagnostic laboratories, all genetic counselling centres, genetic laboratories, genetic clinics and ultrasound clinics
The need to strengthen the Pre Conception Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994
In a country of 1.2 billion people,there have been only 449 convictions upto 2017 December according to the government data. There are many gaps in the implementation of the Pre Conception Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 such as:
- Difficulty in collecting evidence to build a complaint case against sex determinations tests conducted at the ultrasound centres
- Mushrooming of large number of ultrasound centres without proper monitoring systems
- Lack of accountability on the part of implementing authorities under the Act
- Insufficient understanding of the law by the implementing authorities appointed under the Act
- Lack of regular evaluation and inspection of records and ultrasound facilities by the implementing authorities
The Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 is an important tool to regulate the practice of gender based sex selection. However, the implementation of the Act has been poor and sporadic in many parts of the country.
The Vanishing Girls Campaign aims to work towards bringing better accountability and effective implementation of the Pre Conception Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994.
- States must focus on a more effective implementation of the PCPNDT Act and the MTP Act to curb the misuse of medical technology for sex determination and sex selective abortions
- Constitute special fast track courts for PCPNDT cases at the state level
- Appoint special public prosecutors to ensure that the violations under the PCPNDT Act are effectively prosecuted
- Surprise checks of ultrasound clinics to increase monitoring of the clinics
- Initiate legal action against any violation under the PCPNDT Act
- Constitute the state inspection and monitoring committees for checking the activities of ultrasound facilities indulging in advertisement of services and/or determination/revealing of the sex of the foetus
- Ensure accountability of the implementing bodies as constituted under the PCPNDT Act