The Supreme Court, dismissing a writ petition filed by Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI), upheld the constitutional validity of Section 23 of the PCPNDT Act, 1994.
Section 23 of the Act, provides for penalties for anomalies in paperwork/record keeping/clerical errors regarding the provisions of the Act.
It was aggrieved in the writ petition that Section 23, what they term as 'clerical errors', is treated on the same footing as the actual offence of sex determination.
SC in its judgement opined that:
Non-maintenance of records is not merely a technical or procedural lapse in the context of sex determination, it is the most significant piece of evidence for identifying the accused.
Any dilution of the provisions of the Act or the rules would only defeat the purpose of the Act to prevent female foeticide, and relegate the right to life of a girl child under Article 21 of the Constitution, to a mere formality.
If a detailed record is not maintained then the violations can never be detected. It will defeat the purpose of the whole act.
The act was enacted in 1994 and amended in 2003 and is an important tool for addressing sex-selective eliminations.
Objectives: The main purpose of enacting the act is to ban the use of sex selection techniques before or after conception and prevent the misuse of a prenatal diagnostic technique for sex-selective abortion.