VOLUNTARY HEALTH ASS. OF PUNJAB V. UNION OF INDIA
W.R. No.(s) 349/2006
15th April 2014 | Reproductive Rights Unit | Supreme Court | Female Foeticide and the Increasing Gender Gap
HRLN filed a petition seeking measures to check the increasing disparity in child sex ratio due to reasons like female foeticide and highlighted the need for proper implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994. On 4th March 2013, the apex court had directed the Centre and state governments to take quick and tough action against people indulging in female foeticide and had passed a slew of directions for effective implementation of Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act.
The court, concerned about this matter, issued directions against sex selection, destruction of the female foetus subject to law, that is, the provisions of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.
The Voluntary Health association of Punjab [VHAP], an NGO filed a writ petition in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in 2006 against Union of India and Ors, for effective implementation of Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994. However, the practice of female infanticide still prevails.
The average count of girl child (0-6 years) in the country has dropped to 914 per 1000 boys as per the Census 2011 which was earlier 927 in the 2001 Census. Expressing concern over female foeticide and the falling sex ratio, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to file an affidavit indicating the steps it had taken to curb pre-natal sex determination tests for improving the sex ratio which is sliding in most states on a PIL by NGO Voluntary Health Association of Punjab along with the HRLN.
The petitioner sought direction to the "central supervisory board to review the functioning of the state/UT supervisory boards and submit a report to this court within one month." Several cases like People Unions for Civil Liberties v. UOI & Ors., Health and Allied Themes v. Union of India andCEHAT v. Union of India have already been decided in this regard, and concern the prevention of sex selective abortion and gender based discrimination
On 15th April, 2015, the interim order passed by the court is on the implementation of Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act 1994.
The Court directed the Centre to file affidavit through the Additional Secretary of Health and/or any other concerned Additional Secretary which shall clearly indicate what steps have been taken and what results have been achieved to stop female foeticide. The bench also directed that Health Secretaries of the state to file affidavit within four weeks. The court emphasized on the importance of raising awareness on the issue, and directed the order to be published in the newspaper, All India Radio and Doordarshan to achieve this.
The next hearing of the Case is on 6th May 2015.
Contact Person: Sanjai Sharma Activist