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A cry stlll unheurd : The Menunce of Femule Foetlclde ln

I um duughter of Indlu. I um llke your duughters who ure
pluylng ln your premlses, who ure brlnglng luurels to the
nutlon llke Sunltu Wllllums, Klrun Bedl, Kulpunu Chuwlu,
Sunlu Mlrzu etc. But there ls u dlfference between me und ull
of you us I huve been kllled ln the womb of my mother ltself.
Once in our lives, most of us must have heard that a child is a
gift from God. Though whatever biology may suggest, it is not
an uncommon sight in India to see couples praying to be blessed
with a child. But almost half of India, no longer considers it a
blessing if that child happens to be a girl. The blessing soon
becomes a curse and the precious gift is done away with as
soon as possible before extending another demand to God, that
of a male child. The doing away often includes either being
given in marriage to another toddler (or in some cases, to men
twice or even thrice their age) or worse, slaying her even before
she can take one free breath. Of late, technology seems to have
facilitated this diabolical slaughter even before the birth of the
child in the form of femalefoeticide. The term female
foeticide means killing the female foetus in the mothers
September is celebrated as the International Girl
Child Day.
When we celebrute progress, we know thut lt hus been too
slow. More thun 50 yrs of lndependence, lt ls stlll u womens
fuce we see when we speuk of poverty, of HIV/AIDS, of
vlolent confllcts und soclul upheuvul. Let us ussert once uguln
thut euch women und glrl ls u unlque und ut the sume tlme
vuluuble humun belng, who ls entltled to equul opportunltles
und unlversully udopted humun rlghts, no mutter where she ls
born or where she llves.
Accordlng to the Indlun government, 10 mllllon glrls huve
been kllled, elther before or lmmedlutely ufter blrth, by thelr
purents over the pust couple of decudes desplte u luw thut the
government enucted thut buns scun tests forecustlng the sex
of the buby ln the womb.The Unlted Nutlons suys un
estlmuted 2,000 unborn glrls ure lllegully uborted every
duy lnIndlu. Now ls the tlme to energlse efforts to put gender
equullty ut the top of lnternutlonul peuce und development
However, doubts ure bound to be rulsed on the effectlveness
of the leglslutlon us the lssue mulnly relutes to peoples
uttltudes und preferences. The deslre for u son, for lnstunce,
ls deep-rooted ln both rurul und urbun ureus. The problem of
dowry und the cholce of u son for soclul securlty huve ulso
contrlbuted to the muludy. However, these huve led to
serlous gender dlscrlmlnutlon und udverse demogruphlc
lmpllcutlons ln muny stutes. For lnstunce, uccordlng to un
estlmute, purts of Huryunu huve wltnessed u dlp ln sex rutlo
618 glrls for 1,000 boys. On the whole, whlle the nutlonul
sex rutlo ls 933 per 1,000 men, ln Huryunu, Pun|ub,
Chundlgurh und Delhl, lt ls below 900. Thls shows thut the
menuce hus reuched ulurmlng proportlons even ln urbun
Amongst the states, the northern state of Punjab tops the list in
number of female foeticide cases reported over the last three
years with Rajasthan coming next. The country as a whole
reported 294 cases during the same period. According to figures
released by the National Crime Records Bureau in Punjab, 81
cases were registered for female foeticide while for Rajasthan
the corresponding number was 51. Madhya Pradesh registered
21 cases, Haryana 18 and Chattisgarh 24.In Rajasthan, the
number of cases registered has shown a steady decline since the
last three years with 25, 16 and 10 cases being registered in
2006, 2007 and 2008. The National Capital saw seven cases
registered in 2006, four in 2007 and two in 2008. A medical
expert in India says that an estimated 80,000 women die from
legal abortions on an annual basis.
The adverse sex ratio has been linked with the low status of
women in Indian communities, both Hindu and Muslim. The
status of women in a society can be determined by their
education, health, economic role, presence in the professions
and management, and decision-making power within the family.
It is deeply influenced by the beliefs and values of society. Islam
permits polygamy and gives women fewer rights than men.
Among Hindus, preference for the male child is likewise deeply
enshrined in belief and practice. The Ramayana and the
Manusmriti (the Laws of Manu) represent the ideal woman as
obedient and submissive, and always needing the care of a male:
first father, then husband, then son.
The birth of a son is regarded as essential in Hinduism and many
prayers and lavish offerings are made in temples in the hope of
having a male child. Modern medical technology is used in the
service of this religion-driven devaluing of women and girls.
Women and Developments in Reproductive Technology
Abortion was legalized in India in 1971 to strengthen
humanitarian values (pregnancy can be aborted if it is a result of
sexual assault, contraceptive failure, if the baby would be
severely handicapped, or if the mother is incapable of bearing a
healthy child). Amniocentesis was introduced in 1975 to detect
foetal abnormalities but it soon began to be used for determining
the sex of the baby. Ultrasound scanning, being a non-invasive
technique, quickly gained popularity and is now available in
some of the most remote rural areas. Both techniques are now
being used for sex determination with the intention of abortion if
the foetus turns out to be female. These methods do not involve
manipulation of genetic material to select the sex of a baby.
However, there is a dearth of empirical data on this subject but
reliance can be placed on the statistics compiled by the
government organizations.
Table: Incidence (I) and Percentage Contribution to All India
(P) of Crimes
Committed Against Children during 2000 (State and UT-Wise)
8 8.8 7 7.7
2 ASSAM 0 0.0 4 3.8
3 BIHAR 1 1.1 4 3.8
4 GUJARAT 0 0.0 4 3.8
5 HARYANA 13 14.3 1 1.0
6 J&K 0 0.0 1 1.0
7 KARNATAKA 1 1.1 2 1.9
8 KERALA 0 0.0 2 1.9
14 15.4 31 29.8
10 MAHARASHTRA 41 45.1 20 19.2
11 ORRISA 1 1.1 0 0.0
12 PUNJAB 0 0.0 6 5.8
13 RAJASTHAN 9 9.9 5 4.8
14 SIKKIM 0 0.0 3 2.9
15 TAMIL NADU 0 0.0 8 7.7
16 WEST BENGAL 0 0.0 2 1.9
17 CHANDIGARH 1 1.1 0 0.0
18 DELHI 2 2.2 2 1.9
The following is the sex ratio chart from 1901 to 2001.
Females per 1,000 males
1901 - 972
1911 - 964
1921 - 955
1931 - 950
1941 - 945
1951 - 946
1961 - 941
1971 - 930
1981 - 927
1991 - 933
The Census 2001 figures reveal that the child sex ration for the
age group of 0-6 years is comparatively lower in:-
a) Punjab (798),
b) Haryana (819),
c) Chandigarh (845),
d) Delhi (868),
e) Gujarat (883),
f) Himachal Pradesh (896)
g) Rajasthan (909)
as compared to the national average pf 927 girls per thousand
boys. Though there is no established causal relationship between
adverse sex ratio and spurt in cases of sex related crimes, this
could be one of the factors resulting in some forms of violence
against women.
Some of the worst gender ratios, indicating gross violation of
womens rights, are found in South and East Asian countries
such as India and China. The determination of the sex of the
foetus by ultrasound scanning, amniocentesis, and in vitro
fertilization has aggravated this situation. No moral or ethical
principle supports such a procedure for gender identification.
The situation is further worsened by a lack of awareness of
womens rights and by the indifferent attitude of governments
and medical professionals. Recent preconception gender
selection (PGS), however, includes flow cytometry,
preimplantation gender determination of the embryo, and in
vitro fertilization to ensure the birth of a baby of the desired sex
without undergoing abortion.
Also, the introduction of a United States patented sex
determination kit called Baby Gender Mentor Home DNA
Gender Testing Kit have raised fears about back-door foetus
determination tests. The kit, priced at $275 was popularly
known as Jantar Mantar in rural Punjab. It had a built-in-
equipment for collecting and sending a finger-prick blood
sample to a Massachusetts laboratory from where confidential
results were sent via e-mail within 48 hours. Technology is
advancing but, alas, the thinking is still barbaric.
Sections 312-316 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deals with
miscarriage and death of an unborn child and depending on the
severity and intention with which the crime is committed, the
penalties range from seven years to life imprisonment for
fourteen years and fine.
Sectlon 312. Cuuslng mlscurrluge
Whoever voluntarily causes a woman with child to miscarry,
shall, if such miscarriage be not caused in good faith for the
purpose of saving the life of the woman, be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend
to three years, or with fine, or with both, and, if the woman be
quick with child, shall be punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to seven years, and
shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation:- A woman who causes herself to miscarry, is
within the meaning of this section.
Sectlon 313. Cuuslng mlscurrluge wlthout womuns consent
Whoever commits the offence defined in the last preceding
section without the consent of the woman, whether the woman is
quick with child or not, shall be punished with [imprisonment
for life] or with imprisonment of either description for a term
which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Sectlon 314. Deuth cuused by uct done wlth lntent to cuuse
Whoever, with intent to cause the miscarriage of woman with
child, does any act which causes the death of such woman, shall
be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term
may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
If uct done wlthout womuns consent:- And lf the uct ls done
wlthout the consent of the womun, shull be punlshed elther
wlth [lmprlsonment for llfe] or wlth the punlshment ubove
mentloned. Explunutlon: - It ls not essentlul to thls offence
thut the offender should know thut the uct ls llkely to cuuse
Sectlon 315. Act done wlth lntent to prevent chlld belng born
ullve or to cuuse lt to dle ufter blrth
Whoever before the birth of any child does any act with the
intention of thereby preventing that child from being born alive
or causing it to die after its birth, and does by such prevent that
child from being born alive, or causes it to die after its birth,
shall, if such act be not caused in good faith for the purpose of
saving the life of the mother, be punished with imprisonment of
either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or
with fine, or with both.
Sectlon 316. Cuuslng deuth of qulck unborn chlld by uct
umountlng to culpuble homlclde
Whoever does any act under such circumstances, that if he
thereby caused death he would be guilty of culpable homicide,
and does by such act cause the death of a quick unborn child,
shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a
term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to
A, knowing that he is likely to cause the death of a pregnant
woman, does an act which, if it caused the death of the woman,
would amount to culpable homicide. The woman is injured, but
does not die, but the death of an unborn quick child with which
she is pregnant is thereby caused. A is guilty of the offence
defined in this section.
Until 1970 the provisions contained in the Indian Penal Code
(IPC) governed the law on abortion. The Indian Penal Code
1860 permitted legal abortions did without criminal intent and
in good faith for the express purpose of saving the life of the
mother. Liberalisation of abortion laws was also advocated as
one of the measures of population control.
ACT, 1971
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act was passed in July
1971, which came into force in April 1972. This law was
conceived as a tool to let the pregnant women decide on the
number and frequency of children. It further gave them the right
to decide on having or not having the child. However, this good
intentioned step was being used to force women to abort the
female child. In order to do away with lacunae inherent in
previous legislation, the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques
(Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act had to be passed in
1994, which came into force in January 1996. The Act
prohibited determination of sex of the foetus and stated
punishment for the violation of the provisions. It also provided
for mandatory registration of genetic counselling centres,
clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.
Thus both these laws were meant to protect the childbearing
function of the woman and legitimise the purpose for which pre-
natal tests and abortions could be carried out. However, in
practice we find that these provisions have been misused and are
proving against the interest of the females.
To combat the practice of female foeticide in the country
through misuse of technology, done surreptitiously with the
active connivance of the service providers and the persons
seeking such service, the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques
(Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act was enacted on
September 20, 1994 by the Government of India. The Act was
amended in 2003 to improve regulation of technology capable of
sex selection and to arrest the decline in the child sex ratio as
revealed by the Census 2001 and with effect from 14.02.2003,
due to the amendments, the Act is known as the Pre-conception
and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex
Selection) Act, 1994.
Its Purpose
The main purpose of enacting the PC&PNDT (prohibition of
Sex Selection) Act, 1994 has been to:
i) Ban the use of sex selection techniques before or after
ii) Prevent the misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex
selective abortions
iii) Regulate such techniques Stringent punishments have been
prescribed under the Act for using pre-conception and pre-natal
diagnostic techniques to illegally determine the sex of the foetus.
Authorities Empowered and pertinent as well as important
The upproprlute Authorltles ut the Dlstrlct und Stute levels
ure empowered to seurch, selze und seul the muchlnes,
equlpments und records of the vlolutors.
The sule of certuln dlugnostlc equlpment ls restrlcted only
to the bodles reglstered under the Act.
The Government hus ulso tuken vurlous steps to support
lmplementutlon of the leglslutlon, lncludlng through
constltutlon of u Nutlonul Inspectlon & Monltorlng
Commlttee (NIMC), Centrul und Stute Supervlsory Bourds,
cupuclty bulldlng of lmplementlng ugencles, lncludlng the
|udlclury und publlc prosecutors und communlty uwureness
generutlon through PRIs und communlty heulth workers
such us Auxlllury Nurslng Mldwlves (ANMs) und
Accredlted Soclul Heulth Actlvlsts (ASHAs).
The Act hus u centrul und stute level Supervlsory Bourd,
un Approprlute Authorlty, und supportlng Advlsory
Commlttee. The functlon of the Supervlsory Bourd ls to
oversee, monltor, und muke umendments to the provlslons
of the Act. Approprlute Authorlty provldes reglstrutlon, und
conducts the udmlnlstrutlve work lnvolved ln lnspectlon,
lnvestlgutlon, und the penullzlng of defuulters. The
Advlsory Commlttee provldes expert und technlcul support
to the Approprlute Authorlty.
Sec. 6 of the suld Act, cleurly suys thut determlnutlon of
sex ls prohlblted.
Sec. 22 prohlblts udvertlsements relutlng to pre-nutul
determlnutlon of sex und punlshment for contruventlon.
Sec. 23 (3) of the suld Act, luys down thut uny person who
seeks the uld of u genetlc counsellng centre, u genetlc
luborutory or u genetlc cllnlc, or of u medlcul genetlclst,
gynecologlst or reglstered medlcul pructltloner, for
upplylng pre-nutul dlugnostlc technlques on uny pregnunt
women (unless there ls evldence she wus compelled to
undergo such dlugnostlc technlques) for purposes other
thun those speclfled, shull be punlshuble wlth
lmprlsonment for u term thut muy extend to 3 yeurs und
wlth u flne whlch muy extend to Rs.10,000 und uny
subsequent convlctlon muy lnvolve lmprlsonment whlch
muy extend to 5 yeurs und u flne of up to Rs.50,000.
Before conductlng uny prenutul dlugnostlc procedure, the
medlcul pructltloner must obtuln u wrltten consent from the
pregnunt womun ln u locul lunguuge thut she understunds.
Prenutul tests muy be performed ln vurlous speclfled
clrcumstunces, lncludlng rlsk of chromosomul
ubnormulltles ln the cuse of women over 35, und genetlc
dlseuses evldent ln the fumlly hlstory of the couple.
Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code read with the Medical
termination of Pregnancy act, 1971 where all the restrictions
imposed therein, including the time limit of 20 weeks, other than
the ones to ensure good medical conditions, infringe the right to
abortion and the right to health, which emanate from right to life
as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution. Freedom from
interference in ones privacy and family life is protected by
Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
Article 17 of the Civil and Political Rights Covenant, Article 11
of the American Convention, and Article 8(1) of the European
Convention. Right to abortion is a species of right to privacy,
which is again proclaimed a continuance of the right to life
under Article 21.
A survey was conducted to assess the implementation of the
1994 Act in South Delhi and to make recommendations for its
improvement. This involved examining the organizational
structure, observing 26 clinics, and distributing a questionnaire
to patients. The results showed up serious failures in
management and implementation, lack of commitment and
motivation, widespread corruption, and little knowledge in
clinics of the provisions of the Act. The presence of individuals
outside the medical profession, in particular those involved with
human rights, would have helped to prevent fraternity bias an
unwillingness to bring medical colleagues to account.
The survey of patient attitudes showed that only 40% of male
patients and 30% of female patients were aware of the
prohibition of sex determination. While 90% purported to agree
with the principle of the Act, they nevertheless maintained that a
male child was important for the strengthening of the family.
National Plan of Action exclusively for the girl child (1991-
2000) was formulated in 1992 for the Survival, Protection
and Development of the Girl Children. The Plan recognized
the rights of the girl child to equal opportunity, to be free from
hunger, illiteracy, ignorance and exploitation. Towards ensuring
survival of the girl child, the objectives are to:
v Prevent cases of female foeticide and infanticide and ban the
practice of amniocentesis for sex determination;
v End gender disparity in infant mortality rate; eliminate gender
disparities in feeding practices, expand nutritional interventions
to reduce severe malnourishment by half and provide
supplementary nutrition to adolescent girls in need;
v Reduce deaths due to diarrhoea by 50% among girl children
under 5 years and ensure immunization against all forms of
serious illnesses; and
v Provide safe drinking water and ensure access to fodder and
drinking water nearer home.
Balika Samriddhi Yojana
The launching of the Balika Samriddhi Yojana in 1997 is a
major initiative of Government to raise the overall status of the
girl child. It intends to change family and community attitudes
towards her and her mother. Under this scheme about 25 lakh
girl children born every year in families below the poverty line
are to be benefited. The first component of the scheme, which
has already been launched, is to provide Rs.500/ - as a post-
delivery grant to the mother of the girl child as a symbolic gift
from Government. The other components proposed under the
scheme are provision of annual scholarships to the beneficiaries
when they go to school and assistance for taking upon income
generating activity when they attain the age of maturity.
Besides having specific legislation and policy proclamations to
deal with this menace, the precipitating factors such as dowry,
poverty, and womans economic dependence etc., leading to the
problem of foeticide and infanticide have been addressed by
enacting various legislations as:
Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961(Amended in 1986);
Hindu Marriage Act, 1955;
Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956;
Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1986
Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
It is sincerely HOPED that such measures would equip women
to exercise their rights.The Ministry of State for Health and
Family Welfare is also embarking on a massive national level
awareness and sensitisation programme on a sustained basis to
check female foeticide. Non-government organisations, media,
entertainment industry, spiritual leaders, medical fraternity and
youth will be involved in a big way as agents of social change in
the campaign.
Deterrence (enforcing the law), counselling (community
education) peer pressure (holding last rites after abortions to
unnerve the family and doctors) and incentives for informers can
be used as effective tools to bring about an appreciable change
in attitude.
The number of female children is coming down alarmingly and
the present male-female ratio stands at 1000:800 in some
northern states including Haryana, Punjab and South Delhi.
Our honourable judiciary in India had observed 2007 as the
Awareness Year of Female Foeticide and dealt in a strict manner
with those responsible for this crime. The former Chief Justice
Y.K. Sabharwal had declared while delivering his presidential
address at a state-level seminar on Eradication of Female
Foeticide, jointly organised by the Punjab Department of
Health and Family Welfare and Punjab Legal Services Authority
that law can play an important role in checking this menace of
female foeticide.
CEHAT v Union of India
In the landmark case of CEHAT, MASUM and Dr Sabu George
v Union of India and others - in light of the alarming decline in
sex ratios in the country to the disadvantage of women, this
petition was filed seeking directions from the Supreme Court for
the implementation of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act
which regulates the provision of pre-natal diagnostic technology.
In this case the Court took on the unique role of actually
monitoring the implementation of the law and issuing several
beneficial directives over the course of 3 years during which the
case was proceeding in court. This petition put the issue of sex
selection and sex selective abortion on the national agenda and
as a consequence there have been heightened activities on this
issue by government and non-governmental agencies alike.
In the words of Supreme Court of India, It is unfortunate that for
one reason or the other, the practice of female infanticide still
prevails despite the fact that gentle touch of a daughter and her
voice has soothing effect on the parents. One of the reasons may
be the marriage problems faced by the parents compelled with
the dowry demand by the so-called educated and/or rich persons
who are well placed in the society. The traditional system of
female infanticide where by female baby was done away with
after birth by poisoning or letting her choke on husk continues in
a different form by taking advantage of advance medical
Unfortunately, developed medical science is misused to get rid
of a girl child before birth. Knowing fully well that it is immoral
and unethical as well as it may amount to an offence, foetus of a
girl child is aborted by qualified and unqualified doctors or
compounders. This has affected overall sex ratio in various
The Supreme Court of India also directed all the State
Governments/Union Territory administrations to create public
awareness against the practice of pre-natal determination of sex
and female foeticide through advertisements in the print and
electronic media by hoardings and other appropriate means. The
Governments to furnish quarterly returns to the central
supervisory board giving a report on the implementation of
PNDT Act, 1994.
In the case of Kharak Singh Vs. State of U.P. and others , the
Supreme Court has certainly recognized that a person has
complete rights of control over his body organs and his person
under Article 21. It can also said to be including the complete
right of a woman over her reproductive organs. In the United
States of America, the Supreme Court upheld the right to
privacy and ended the ban on birth control back in 1965, in the
case ofGriswold v. Connecticut . Eight years later, the Supreme
Court ruled the right to privacy included abortions in the
landmark case of Roe v. Wade . In 1976, Planned Parenthood of
Central Missouri v. Danforth, ruled that requiring consent by the
husband and the consent from a parent if a person was under 18
was unconstitutional. This case supported a womans control
over her own body and reproductive system. William Brennan,
J. stated:
If the right to privacy means anything, it is the right of the
individual, married or single, to be free from unwanted
governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a
person as the decision to bear or beget a child.
Vijay Sharma and Another Vs Union of India
The couple, Vijay and Kirti Sharma, based in the commercial
metropolis Mumbai, challenged the validity of the Pre
Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Tests Act (PCPNDT) Act,
a 2001 Indian legislation which bans sex determination. But the
judges said in a verdict pronounced on Friday that sex selection
would be as good as female foeticide.
Qualified Private Medical Practitioners and Hospitals
Association Vs State of Kerala
It was declared that laboratories and clinics which do not
conduct pre-natal diagnostic, test using ultrasonography will not
come within the purview of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic
Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994
and a direction to the respondents not to insist for registration of
all ultrasound scanning centres irrespective of the fact as to
whether they are conducting ultrasonography, under the Act,
1994. a similar view was taken in the case of Malpani
Infertility Clinic Pvt. Ltd. and Others Vs Appropriate
Authority, PNDT Act and Others.

Dr. Varsha Gautam W/O Dr. Rajesh Gautam vs State Of
A pregnant woman wanted to get her abortion done because
there was a girl child in her womb. She approached the
petitioner Dr. Varsha Gautam at her hospital, who agreed to
perform the abortion although it was an offence to perform such
an operation and even determination of the sex by doctors using
ultrasound technique was illegal. The petitioner is said to have
engaged in getting abortions done in her hospital in collusion
with doctors, who determined the sex of the foetus by
conducting ultrasound tests. Her clinic was not even registered
under the Act and she was not entitled to conduct pre-natal
diagnostic procedures therein.

Vinod Soni and Another Vs Union of India
By this petition, the petitioners who are married couple seek to
challenge the constitutional validity of Preconception and
Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection)
Act of 1994 (hereinafter referred to Sex Selection Act of 1994).
The petition contains basically two challenges to the enactment.
First, it violates Article 14 of the Constitution and second, that it
violates Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It was held
that Right to bring into existence a life in future with a choice to
determine the sex of that life cannot in itself to be a right.
Reliance is placed on a Supreme Court Judgment and two earlier
decisions whereby the Supreme Court has explained Article 21
and the rights bestowed thereby include right to Food, clothing,
decent environment, and even protection of cultural heritage.
These rights even if further expanded to the extremes of the
possible elasticity of the provisions of Article 21 cannot include
right to selection of sex whether preconception or post
conception thus, not unconstitutional.
In order to strengthen the monitoring of female foeticide and girl
child survival, the Registrar General of India, has made it
mandatory for all the Chief Registrars of Births and Deaths to
closely monitor the sex ratio at birth every month.
In India, the available legislation for prevention of sex
determination needs strict implementation, alongside the
launching of programmes aimed at altering attitudes, including
those prevalent in the medical profession. More generally,
demographers warn that in the next twenty years there will be a
shortage of brides in the marriage market mainly because of the
adverse juvenile sex ratio, combined with an overall decline in
fertility. While fertility is declining more rapidly in urban and
educated families, nevertheless the preference for male children
remains strong. For these families, modern medical technologies
are within easy reach. Thus selective abortion and sex selection
are becoming more common.
The National Plan of Action for the South Asian Association for
Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Decade of the Girl Child
(1991-2000) seeks to ensure the equality of status for the girl
child by laying down specific goals for her dignified survival
and development without discrimination. The codified law
world over considers human life as sacred and specific legal
provisions have been devised to protect the life of the born and
the un-born.
However, the objective of the law gets defeated due to lacunae
in the law and lack of proper implementation. Even though the
law is a powerful instrument of change yet law alone cannot root
out this social problem. The girls are devalued not only because
of the
economic considerations but also because of socio-cultural
factors, such as, the belief that son extends the lineage, enlarges
the family tree, provides protection safety and security to the
family and is necessary for salvation as he alone can light the
funeral pyre and perform other death related rites and rituals.
Evidence indicates that the problem of female foeticide is more
prevalent in orthodox families. It is, therefore, essential that
these sociocultural factors be tackled by changing the thought
process through awareness generation, mass appeal and social
action. In addition to this all concerned i.e. the religious and
social leaders, voluntary organisations, womens groups,
socially responsible media, the doctors; the Medical
Council/Association (by enforcing medical ethics and penalties
on deviant doctors) and the law enforcement personnel should
work in a coordinated way.
To conclude I would like to say that awareness amongst people
from all walks of life and enlightening them with education are
two foolproof tools of combating this ever pervading menace
which has plagued our country and rendered the sex ratio to fall
drastically. Female foeticide is also depicted in a serial named
Na Aana Is Desh Meri Lado aired on Colors channel over the
week days to which a notice has been issued by the National
Commission of Women of being violative of the Indecent
Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 as well as
Cable T.V. Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.
Unlversul Declurutlon of Humun Rlghts, 1948 The Indlun luw
enucted on lts guldellnes ls Humun Rlghts Protectlon Act, 1993
The world unlon of Humunlst orgunlzutlons Internutlonul
humunlst und ethlcul unlon uvulluble
Source - , Femule lnfuntlclde: Stop burburlc
pructlce on Thursduy, Februury 28, 2008 by Prushunt Mukher|ee
Pun|ub tops ln number of femule foetlclde cuses New Delhl,
Dec 15 (PTI)
Steven Ertelt, ,Edltor, December 20, 2007
The Medlcul Termlnutlon of Pregnuncy Act, 1971
Source: Crlme ln Indlu 2000, p. 216.
Source: Census of Indlu, 2001
Thls lnformutlon wus glven by Mlnlster of Stute for Heulth und
Fumlly Welfure Shrl Dlnesh Trlvedl ln wrltten reply to u questlon
rulsed ln Ru|yu Subhu.
Sold onllne on the webslte
Subs. by Act 26 of 1955, sec.117 und sch., for trunsportutlon for
llfe (w.e.f.1-1-1956).
Subs. by Act 26 of 1955, sec.117 und sch., for trunsportutlon for
llfe (w.e.f. 1-1-1956).
Internutlonul Journul of Crlmlnul Justlce Sclences Vol. 1 Issue 1
Junuury 2006
Accordlng to Unlon Mlnlster for Women und Chlld Development
Renuku Chowdury.
AIR 2002 SC 3689
Wrlt Petltlon (clvll) 301 of 2000, Dute of Judgment :
10/09/2003, JT 2003 Supp (1) SC 76
AIR 1963 SC 1295, pg. 345
Avulluble ut Indlun Court Upholds Bun on Pre-nutul Sex
2006 (4) KLT 81
AIR 2005 Bom 26
2005 CRILJ 3408
Klshun Puttnuyuk v. Stute of Orlssu AIR 1989 SC 677
Avulluble ut