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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Rules, 1996= increase of female foeticide, =VOLUNTARY HEALTH ASS. OF PUNJAB Vs. UNION OF INDIA & ORS. DIPAK MISRA, SHIVA KIRTI SINGH = 2016 Dec.http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=44287

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION


                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 349 OF 2006
Voluntary Health Association                 ... Petitioner(s)
of Punjab

                                   Versus
Union of India and Others                    ... Respondent(s)

                                    WITH
                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 575 OF 2014

                               J U D G M E N T

Dipak Misra, J.
      The two writ petitions being inter-connected in certain  aspects  were
heard together and are disposed of by the singular  order.  We  shall  first
deal with the grievance agitated in Writ Petition (Civil) No.  349  of  2006
and thereafter advert to what has been asserted in the other writ  petition.
Be it stated immediately that the issues raised  in  Writ  Petition  (Civil)
No. 349 of 2006 are not agitated for the  first  time,  for  they  had  been
raised on earlier occasions  and  dealt  with  serious  concern  and  solemn
sincerity.  It is because they relate to the very core  of  existence  of  a
civilized society, pertain to the progress of the  human  race,  and  expose
the maladroit efforts to throttle the right of a life  to  feel  the  mother
earth and smell its fragrance.  And, if  we  allow  ourselves  to  say,  the
issues have been highlighted with sincere rhetorics and balanced  hyperboles
and ring the alarm of destruction of humanity in the long run.  It is not  a
group prophecy, but a significant collective predication.   The  involvement
of all is obvious, and it has  to  be.  The  heart  of  the  issue  that  is
zealously projected by the petitioner is the increase of  female  foeticide,
resultant imbalance of sex ratio and the indifference in the  implementation
of the stringent law that is in  force.  In  essence,  the  fulcrum  of  the
anguished grievance lays stress on the non-implementation of the  provisions
of The Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic  Techniques  (Prohibition  of
Sex Selection) Act, 1994 (for brevity “the Act”) and The Pre-conception  and
               Pre-natal   Diagnostic   Techniques   (Prohibition   of   Sex
Selection) Rules, 1996 (for short “the Rules”) framed under the Act  by  the
competent authorities who are obliged to do so.
2.    The grievance has a narrative, and it needs to be stated.
3.    Realising the rise of pre-natal diagnostic centres in urban  areas  of
the country using pre-natal diagnostic techniques for determination  of  sex
of the foetus and that the said centres had  become  very  popular  and  had
tremendous growth, as the female child is not welcomed  with  open  arms  in
many Indian families and the consequence that such  centres  became  centres
for female foeticide which affected the dignity and  status  of  women,  the
Parliament  brought  in  the  legislation  to  regulate  the  use  of   such
techniques and to provide punishment for such inhuman act.  The objects  and
reasons of the Act stated unequivocally that it was meant  to  prohibit  the
misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for determination of  sex  of  the
foetus, leading to female foeticide; to prohibit advertisement of  pre-natal
diagnostic techniques for detection or determination of sex; to  permit  and
regulate the use of pre-natal  diagnostic  techniques  for  the  purpose  of
detection of specific genetic abnormalities or disorders; to permit the  use
of  such  techniques  only  under  certain  conditions  by  the   registered
institutions; and to punish for violation of the provisions of the  proposed
legislation.   The Preamble of the Act provides 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.  Be it noted when  the  Act  came
into force, it was named as the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques  (Regulation
and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 and after the  amendments  in  2001  and
2003, in the present incarnation, it is called The Pre-conception  and  Pre-
natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994.
4.    As the violence and cruelty meted out to women gradually got  revealed
due to rights and protections prescribed  under  various  legislations,  the
Court perceived the magnitude of the  crime.   Such  a  situation  compelled
this Court, in  Ajit  Savant  Majagvai  v.   State  of  Karnataka[1],  while
dealing with the physical violence, torture, mental cruelty  and  murder  of
the female  particularly  the  wife,  to  comment  on  the  degeneration  of
relationship and the prevalent atmosphere by observing that:-
“3. Social  thinkers,  philosophers,  dramatists,  poets  and  writers  have
eulogised the female  species  of  the  human  race  and  have  always  used
beautiful epithets to describe her temperament and personality and have  not
deviated from that path even while speaking of her odd behaviour, at  times.
Even in sarcasm, they have not crossed the literary limit and  have  adhered
to a particular standard of nobility of language. Even when a member of  her
own species, Madame De Stael, remarked “I am glad that I am not a  man;  for
then I should have to marry a woman”, there was wit in it. When  Shakespeare
wrote, “Age cannot wither her; nor  custom  stale,  her  infinite  variety”,
there again was wit. Notwithstanding that these writers  have  cried  hoarse
for respect for “woman”, notwithstanding that Schiller said  “Honour  women!
They  entwine  and  weave  heavenly  roses  in   our   earthly   life”   and
notwithstanding  that  the  Mahabharata  mentioned  her  as  the  source  of
salvation,  crime  against  “woman”  continues  to  rise  and   has,   today
undoubtedly, risen to alarming proportions.

4. It  is  unfortunate  that  in  an  age  where  people  are  described  as
civilised, crime against “female” is committed even when  the  child  is  in
the womb as the “female” foetus is often destroyed to prevent the  birth  of
a female child. If that child comes into existence, she starts her  life  as
a daughter, then becomes a wife and in due course, a mother. She  rocks  the
cradle to rear up her infant, bestows all her love on the child and  as  the
child grows in age, she gives to the child all  that  she  has  in  her  own
personality. She shapes the destiny and character of the child. To be  cruel
to such a creature is unthinkable.”
[Emphasis added]

5.    We may repeat, the aforestated observation though made  totally  in  a
different context but nonetheless,  it  seemly  stated  the  marrow  of  the
problem.  Needless to emphasise,  the  predicament  with  regard  to  female
foeticide by misuse of modern science  and  technology  has  aggravated  and
enormously affected the sex ratio. To eradicate the malady, the  Parliament,
as stated earlier, had enacted the Act.  In the first year of this  century,
a petition under Article 32 was moved for issuing  directions  to  implement
the provisions of the said Act by (a) appointing appropriate authorities  at
State  and  district  levels  and  the  Advisory  Committees;  (b)   issuing
direction to the Central Government to ensure that the  Central  Supervisory
Board meets every 6 months as provided under the PNDT Act; and  for  banning
of all advertisements of prenatal sex selection  including  all  other  sex-
determination techniques which can be abused  to  selectively  produce  only
boys either before or during pregnancy. A  two-Judge  bench  in  Center  for
Enquiry into Health & Allied Themes (CEHAT) and others  v.  Union  of  India
and others[2] and Center for Enquiry into Health  &  Allied  Themes  (CEHAT)
and others v. Union of India and  others[3]  on  04.05.2001  issued  certain
directions. Apart from the directions contained  in  the  said  orders,  the
Court, while finally disposing of the writ petition,  issued  the  following
directions:-
“(a)  For  effective  implementation  of  the  Act,  information  should  be
published by way of advertisements as well  as  on  electronic  media.  This
process should be continued till there  is  awareness  in  the  public  that
there should not be any discrimination between male and female child.

(b) Quarterly reports by the appropriate authority, which are  submitted  to
the Supervisory Board should be  consolidated  and  published  annually  for
information of the public at large.

(c) Appropriate authorities shall maintain the records of all  the  meetings
of the Advisory Committees.

(d) The National Inspection and  Monitoring  Committee  constituted  by  the
Central Government for conducting  periodic  inspection  shall  continue  to
function till the Act  is  effectively  implemented.  The  reports  of  this
Committee  be  placed  before  the  Central  Supervisory  Board  and   State
Supervisory Boards for any further action.

(e) As provided under Rule 17(3),  the  public  would  have  access  to  the
records maintained by different bodies constituted under the Act.

(f) The Central Supervisory Board would ensure  that  the  following  States
appoint the State Supervisory Boards as per the requirement of  Section  16-
A: 1. Delhi, 2. Himachal Pradesh, 3. Tamil Nadu, 4. Tripura,  and  5.  Uttar
Pradesh.

(g) As per the requirement of  Section  17(3)(a),  the  Central  Supervisory
Board would ensure  that  the  following  States  appoint  the  multi-member
appropriate authorities: 1. Jharkhand, 2. Maharashtra, 3. Tripura, 4.  Tamil
Nadu, and 5. Uttar Pradesh. It will be open to the parties to approach  this
Court in case of any difficulty in implementing the aforesaid directions”.

6.    Despite the directions issued by the Court, there had not been  proper
implementation and that compelled the present petitioner, namely,  Voluntary
Health Association of Punjab to  file  the  present  Writ  Petition  seeking
various directions.  The Court on 08.01.2013 took note  of  the  fact   that
the provisions had not been adequately implemented  by  the  various  States
and Union Territories and accordingly directed for  personal  appearance  of
the Health Secretaries of the States  of  Punjab,  Haryana,  NCT  of  Delhi,
Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra, to examine what steps  they
had taken for the proper and effective implementation of the  provisions  of
the Act as well as the various directions issued by this Court.
7.    At a later stage, a reference was made to  2011  Census  of  India  to
highlight there had been a sharp decline in the female  sex  ratio  in  many
States.  It was also observed that there had been no  effective  supervision
or follow-up action so as to achieve the object and purpose of the Act.   It
was  observed  that  mushrooming  of  various  sonography  centres,  genetic
clinics,  genetic  counselling  centres,  genetic  laboratories,  ultrasonic
clinics, imaging centres in almost all parts of the country called for  more
vigil and attention by the authorities under the Act.  The Court also  found
that their functioning was not being properly  monitored  or  supervised  by
the authorities under the Act or to find out whether they are  misusing  the
pre-natal diagnostic techniques for determination of sex of  foetus  leading
to foeticide.
8.    A reference was made to various facets of the Act and  the  Rules  and
ultimately the Court in Voluntary Health Association of Punjab v.  Union  of
India and others[4] issued the following directions:-

“9.1. The Central Supervisory Board and  the  State  and  Union  Territories
Supervisory Boards, constituted under Sections 7 and 16-A of PN & PNDT  Act,
would meet at least once in six months, so as to supervise and  oversee  how
effective is the implementation of the PN & PNDT Act.
9.2. The State Advisory Committees and District Advisory  Committees  should
gather information relating to the breach of the  provisions  of  the  PN  &
PNDT Act and the Rules and take steps to seize records,  seal  machines  and
institute legal proceedings, if they notice violation of the  provisions  of
the PN & PNDT Act.
9.3. The committees  mentioned  above  should  report  the  details  of  the
charges framed and the conviction of the  persons  who  have  committed  the
offence,  to  the  State  Medical  Councils  for  proper  action,  including
suspension of the registration of the unit and cancellation  of  licence  to
practice.
9.4. The  authorities  should  ensure  also  that  all  genetic  counselling
centres, genetic laboratories  and  genetic  clinics,  infertility  clinics,
scan centres, etc. using pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic  techniques
and procedures should maintain all records and all  forms,  required  to  be
maintained under the Act and the Rules and the duplicate copies of the  same
be sent to the district authorities concerned, in accordance with Rule  9(8)
of the Rules.
9.5.  States  and  District  Advisory  Boards   should   ensure   that   all
manufacturers and sellers  of  ultrasonography  machines  do  not  sell  any
machine  to  any  unregistered  centre,  as  provided  under  Rule  3-A  and
disclose, on a quarterly basis, to the State/Union Territory  concerned  and
the Central Government, a list of persons to whom  the  machines  have  been
sold, in accordance with Rule 3-A(2) of the Rules.
9.6. There will be a direction to all genetic counselling  centres,  genetic
laboratories, clinics, etc. to maintain Forms A, E, H  and  other  statutory
forms provided  under  the  Rules  and  if  these  forms  are  not  properly
maintained,  appropriate  action  should  be  taken   by   the   authorities
concerned.
9.7. Steps should also be taken by the State Government and the  authorities
under  the  Act   for   mapping   of   all   registered   and   unregistered
ultrasonography clinics, in three months’ time.
9.8.  Steps  should  be  taken  by  the  State  Governments  and  the  Union
Territories to educate the people  of  the  necessity  of  implementing  the
provisions of the Act by conducting workshops as well as awareness camps  at
the State and district levels.
9.9. Special cell be constituted by the  State  Governments  and  the  Union
Territories to monitor the progress of various cases pending in  the  courts
under the Act and take steps for their early disposal.
9.10. The authorities concerned should take  steps  to  seize  the  machines
which have been used illegally and contrary to the  provisions  of  the  Act
and the Rules thereunder and the seized machines  can  also  be  confiscated
under the provisions of the Code of  Criminal  Procedure  and  be  sold,  in
accordance with law.
9.11. The various courts in this country should take  steps  to  dispose  of
all pending cases under the Act, within a period of six months.  Communicate
this order  to  the  Registrars  of  various  High  Courts,  who  will  take
appropriate follow-up action with due intimation to the courts concerned.”

A further direction was given to file the Status Report within a  period  of
three months. It is apt to note here that in the  concurring  opinion  Dipak
Misra, J. only highlighted  certain  aspects  that  pertained  to  direction
contained in paragraph 9.8.
9.    We may profitably  reproduce  certain  passages  from  the  concurring
opinion:-
“14. Female foeticide  has  its  roots  in  the  social  thinking  which  is
fundamentally based on certain  erroneous  notions,  egocentric  traditions,
perverted perception of societal norms and obsession with  ideas  which  are
totally individualistic sans the collective good.  All  involved  in  female
foeticide deliberately forget to realise that when  the  foetus  of  a  girl
child is  destroyed,  a  woman  of  the  future  is  crucified.  To  put  it
differently, the present generation invites the sufferings on  its  own  and
also sows the seeds of suffering  for  the  future  generation,  as  in  the
ultimate eventuate, the sex  ratio  gets  affected  and  leads  to  manifold
social problems. I may hasten to add that no awareness campaign can ever  be
complete unless there is real focus on the prowess of  women  and  the  need
for women empowerment.

      x          x           x          x          x

19. A woman has to be regarded as an equal partner in the life of a man.  It
has to be borne in mind that she has also the  equal  role  in  the  society
i.e. thinking, participating and leadership.

      x          x           x          x          x

21. When a female foeticide takes place, every woman who mothers  the  child
must remember that she is killing her own  child  despite  being  a  mother.
That is what abortion would mean in  social  terms.  Abortion  of  a  female
child in its conceptual  eventuality  leads  to  killing  of  a  woman.  Law
prohibits  it;  scriptures  forbid  it;  philosophy  condemns   it;   ethics
deprecate it, morality decries it  and  social  science  abhors  it.  Henrik
Ibsen emphasised on the individualism of woman. John Milton treated  her  to
be the best of all God’s work. In this context, it will  be  appropriate  to
quote a few lines from Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville:
“If I were asked … to what the singular prosperity and growing  strength  of
that people [Americans] ought mainly to be attributed, I  should  reply:  To
the superiority of their women.”

      x          x           x          x          x

32. A cosmetic awareness campaign would  never  subserve  the  purpose.  The
authorities of the Government, the non-governmental organisations and  other
volunteers are required to remember that there has  to  be  awareness  camps
which are really effective. The people involved with the same must  take  it
up as a service, a crusade. They must understand and accept that  it  is  an
art as well as a science and not  simple  arithmetic.  It  cannot  take  the
colour of a routine speech. The awareness camps should  not  be  founded  on
the theory of Euclidian geometry. It  must  engulf  the  concept  of  social
vigilance with an analytical mind  and  radiate  into  the  marrows  of  the
society. If awareness campaigns are not  appositely  conducted,  the  needed
guidance for the people would be  without  meaning  and  things  shall  fall
apart and everyone would try to take shelter in cynical escapism.

33. It is difficult to precisely state  how  an  awareness  camp  is  to  be
conducted. It will depend upon what kind and  strata  of  people  are  being
addressed to. The persons involved in such awareness campaign  are  required
to equip  themselves  with  constitutional  concepts,  culture,  philosophy,
religion, scriptural commands and injunctions, the mandate  of  the  law  as
engrafted under the Act and above all the development of modern science.  It
needs no special emphasis  to  state  that  in  awareness  camps  while  the
deterrent facets of law are required to be accentuated upon,  simultaneously
the desirability of law to be  followed  with  spiritual  obeisance,  regard
being had to the purpose of the Act, has to be  stressed  upon.  The  seemly
synchronisation shall bring the required  effect.  That  apart,  documentary
films can be shown to highlight the need; and instil the idea  in  the  mind
of the public at large, for when  the  mind  becomes  strong,  mountains  do
melt.

34. The people involved in the awareness campaigns should have boldness  and
courage. There should not be any iota of confusion or  perplexity  in  their
thought or action. They should treat it  as  a  problem  and  think  that  a
problem has to be understood in a proper manner to afford a  solution.  They
should bear in mind that they are required to  change  the  mindset  of  the
people, the grammar of the society and unacceptable beliefs inherent in  the
populace.”

10.   As directed in  the  judgment,  the  matter  was  listed  and  certain
clarifications were sought for by the Union of  India  with  regard  to  the
directions vide direction  Nos.  2,  3,  4  and  6  pointing  out  that  the
authorities mentioned in direction No. 2  should  also  include  appropriate
authority under Section 17 and Section 17A of  the  Act.    With  regard  to
direction No. 6, it was submitted that instead of Forms A, E  and  H,  Forms
A, D, F, G & H be substituted.   The  said  prayers  were  allowed  and  the
States were directed to file their respective status report.
11.   On 16.9.2014 the Court took note of the directions already issued  and
proceeded to deal with I.A. No. 11 of 2013 and recorded  the  submission  of
Mr. Sanjay Parikh, learned counsel that the Union of India  has  to  animate
itself in an appropriate manner to see that the sex ratio is maintained  and
does not reduce  further.  It  was  also  urged  by  him  that  the  Central
Supervision Committee which is  required  to  meet  to  take  stock  of  the
situation and the National Monitoring Committee who is required  to  monitor
the activities, had failed in their duties.
12.   Mr. Parikh had also drawn the attention of the Court  to  the  proviso
to Section 4(3) of the Act which reads as follows:-

“4. Regulation  of  pre-natal  diagnostic  techniques.--  On  and  from  the
commencement of this Act,-- (1) … (2) … (3) …

Provided that the person conducting  ultrasonography  on  a  pregnant  woman
shall keep complete record thereof in the clinic in such manner, as  may  be
prescribed, and any deficiency or inaccuracy found therein shall  amount  to
contravention of the provisions of section 5 and section 6  unless  contrary
is proved by the person conducting such ultrasonography.”

13.   It was propounded by him  that  the  concerned  authorities  have  not
acted in accordance with the aforesaid provision in  all  seriousness  as  a
result of which the nation has faced the disaster of female  foeticide.   On
that day,             Mr. Colin Gonsalves, learned senior counsel  appearing
for the writ petitioner had drawn our attention to the  affidavit  filed  by
the petitioner contending, inter alia, that the sex ratio  in  most  of  the
States had  decreased  and  in  certain  States,  there  had  been  a  minor
increase, but the same is not likely to subserve the  aims  and  objects  of
the Act.   After referring to the history of this litigation which has  been
continuing  in  this  Court  since  long,  he  had  submitted  that  certain
directions are required to be issued.
14.   The  Union  of  India  was  directed  to  file  an  affidavit  of  the
Additional  Secretary  of  Health  and/or  any  other  concerned  Additional
Secretary clearly stating what steps had been taken and on the basis of  the
steps taken, what results have been achieved.  It  was  also  directed  that
all the States shall file  their  responses  through  the  concerned  Health
Secretaries.  The direction further contained that the affidavits  shall  be
comprehensive and must reflect sincerity and responsibility.
15.   On 25.11.2014 the Court noted that affidavits by  certain  States  had
been filed and certain States,  namely,  Assam,  Arunachal  Pradesh,  Bihar,
Goa, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram,  Odisha,  Tripura,
and UT  of  Daman  and  Nagar  Haveli  and  Puducherry  had  not  filed  the
affidavits. Two weeks time was granted to  file  the  necessary  affidavits.
At that juncture, it was thought appropriate to  advert  to  the  States  by
dividing them into certain clusters.   It  was  decided  to  deal  with  the
situation pertaining to the States of Uttar  Pradesh,  Haryana  and  NCT  of
Delhi first.  The affidavit  filed  by  the  State  of  Uttar  Pradesh   was
considered and in that context it was observed that the census conducted  in
2011 cannot be the guideline for the purposes of PC-PNDT Act.  It  was  felt
that a different methodology was  required  to  be  adopted  by  the  State.
Paragraph 28 of the  affidavit,  which  is  of  significance,  is  extracted
below:-

“28. That it is pertinent  to  mention  herein  that  according  to  “ANNUAL
HEALTH SURVEY (AHS)” for the year 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13,  improvement
has been revealed in the State in respect of Sex Ratio At Birth,  Sex  Ratio
of Child (0 to 04 years age) and Sex Ratio in all age group, which is  clear
with the table given below:

|Year of    |Sex Ratio  |Sex Ratio  |Sex Ratio  |
|Annual     |(at birth) |(0 to 4    |(In all    |
|Health     |           |years of   |ages)      |
|Survey     |           |           |           |
|2010-11    |904        |913        |943        |
|2011-12    |908        |914        |944        |
|2012-13    |921        |919        |946        |

      It is necessary to mention here that on a  query  being  made  by  the
Court, learned counsel for the State was not in a  position  to  explain  on
what basis the said figures had been  arrived  at,  for  the  same  was  not
reflectible from the assertions made in the affidavit.
16.   As far as the State of  Haryana  is  concerned,  the  chart  given  in
paragraph 15 of the affidavit indicated  district-wise  and  month-wise  sex
ratio of births during the year 2014. It is as follows:-

|“District wise and month wise Sex Ratio at Birth during year|
|2014 in Haryana State as per CRS (Prov)                     |
|Sr. |District      |Up to  |Up to  |Up to|Up to|Up to|Up to |
|No  |              |Jan.14 |Feb.14 |Mar  |April|May  |June  |
|    |              |       |       |14   |14   |14   |14    |
|1   |Ambala        |1012   |993    |959  |939  |913  |910   |
|2   |Bhiwani       |824    |812    |843  |848  |846  |832   |
|3   |Faridabad     |929    |892    |889  |884  |890  |890   |
|4   |Fatehabad     |859    |898    |890  |888  |886  |874   |
|5   |Gurgaon       |829    |856    |851  |854  |855  |839   |
|6   |Hissar        |892    |872    |883  |878  |885  |880   |
|7   |Jhajjar       |797    |793    |793  |801  |800  |811   |
|8   |Jind          |886    |876    |878  |911  |915  |899   |
|9   |Kaithal       |953    |921    |920  |928  |927  |918   |
|10  |Karnal        |911    |899    |888  |881  |889  |894   |
|11  |Kurukshetra   |956    |904    |900  |892  |890  |888   |
|12  |Mewat         |920    |942    |932  |923  |920  |919   |
|13  |Mohindergarh  |777    |776    |797  |786  |782  |770   |
|14  |Palwal        |867    |871    |871  |871  |876  |875   |
|15  |Panchkula     |853    |837    |860  |914  |902  |914   |
|16  |Panpat        |924    |931    |915  |904  |903  |895   |
|17  |Rewari        |856    |850    |849  |822  |816  |806   |
|18  |Rohtak        |894    |884    |865  |863  |859  |889   |
|19  |Sirsa         |897    |872    |879  |885  |892  |886   |
|20  |Sonepat       |859    |884    |850  |838  |834  |835   |
|21  |Yamuna naga   |903    |940    |916  |897  |894  |869   |
|    |Haryana State |889    |884    |881  |878  |878  |874”  |





      Nothing had been filed stating as to how  the  aforesaid  figures  had
been reached except making a statement that the figures were arrived  at  on
the basis of entry in certain registers.

17.   On a perusal of the affidavit by the NCT of Delhi, it was  noted  that
in paragraph 5, it had been stated, thus:-
“5. It is submitted that Sex Ratio at Birth in Delhi, which  is  a  reliable
indicator of violations under the PC & PNDT Act, has improved  by  9  points
in 2013 over the previous year. The data available from  Civil  Registration
System indicates that Sex Ratio at Birth was 809 females per 1000  males  in
the year 2001 and it is currently at 895 in 2013 Annexure  R-I.”

18.   At that stage, the  Court  felt  the  need  for  verification  of  the
documents that formed the basis on which these  figures  had  been  reached.
It was also clarified that the figures that had been put forth did not  show
much indication of improvement but it was necessary to  verify  whether  the
figures that had been set forth was correct or not. The purpose was to  find
out whether there was degradation of sex ratio or stagnation  or  any  steps
had really been taken by the concerned States  to  improve/enhance  the  sex
ratio or not; and accordingly it was directed that a meeting be  held  under
the auspices of National Inspection and  Monitoring  Committee  wherein  the
Additional Secretary who had filed the affidavit for the Union of India  and
two other Joint Secretaries of the Ministry of  Health  and  Family  Welfare
shall remain present. The deponents who  had  filed  the  affidavits  before
this Court on behalf of the State of Uttar Pradesh and  NCT  of  Delhi  were
directed to remain present. The Director General, Health Services, State  of
Haryana and the Principal Secretary along with the Special Secretary,  State
of Uttar Pradesh were also directed to remain present in the meeting and  to
produce the relevant registers/records before  the  said  Committee  on  the
date fixed. Mr. Gonsalves, learned senior counsel  for  the  petitioner  and
Mr. Parikh, learned counsel for the impleaded respondent(s) were allowed  to
be present.  The report was required  to  be  filed  before  this  Court  by
10.12.2014. It was further directed  that  apart  from  the  sex-ratio,  the
aforesaid  three  States  shall  also  bring  records  with  regard  to  the
prosecutions levied by the State yearwise and the stage of the  prosecution.

19.   Pursuant to order dated 25.11.2014, the Committee  verified  the  data
submitted by three States, namely, Uttar Pradesh,  Haryana  and  Delhi.   As
far as the State of Uttar  Pradesh  was  concerned,  on  a  perusal  of  the
report, it transpired that the figures that were submitted by the  State  of
Uttar Pradesh had been verified by the Committee and found  to  be  correct.
On a perusal of the report along with the documents that  had  been  annexed
to, it was noticed that certain cases were  pending  for  trial  before  the
trial Court. Regard being had to the fact  that  they  had  been  instituted
long back, a direction was issued to the effect that  the  proceedings  that
were pending before for trial and where there was no stay order of the  High
Court or this Court, the same shall be taken up in quite promptitude and  be
disposed of within a period of three months commencing 20th  January,  2015.
Be it stated certain other directions were issued to  be  complied  with  by
the State of Uttar Pradesh.
20.   At a subsequent  stage,  the  data  furnished  by  the  States,  i.e.,
Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan  and  Tamil  Nadu  were  verified.     On
15.4.2015 this Court’s attention was drawn to the sex ratio in  Delhi  which
had been verified by the Monitoring Committee as per the population  census.
The said sex ratio relates to 2011 which reads as follows:-
“Sex Ratio as per Population Census The universal sex ratio of Delhi as  per
population census for all age groups taken  together  was  821  females  per
1000 males in 2001 and it has become 866  females  per  1000  males  as  per
provisional data of census – 2011. Children sex ratio (0-6)  of  Delhi  went
down marginally from 868 (as per census 2001) to 866 (as per  census  2011).
As can be seen from statement 1.3, at both points of the  figures  of  Delhi
were below  than  All  India  level.  The  district-wise  scenario  for  the
children of 0-6 years varies in different districts.

Statement 1.3: Sex ratio of Delhi/All India as per population Census Data

|Sl. No |Item                        |Census Year    |
|A      |District wise sex ratio     |2001   |2011    |
|       |(Children of 0-6 years)     |       |        |
|       |South                       |888    |878     |
|       |South West                  |846    |836     |
|       |North West                  |857    |863     |
|       |North                       |886    |872     |
|       |Central                     |903    |902     |
|       |New Delhi                   |898    |884     |
|       |East                        |865    |870     |
|       |North East                  |875    |875     |
|       |West                        |859    |867     |
|       |Delhi                       |       |        |
|       |Children of 0-6 years       |868    |866     |
|       |All ages                    |821    |866     |
|       |All India                   |       |        |
|       |Children of 0 -6 years      |927    |914     |
|       |All ages                    |933    |940     |

Source: Population census – 2011”

21.   Our attention was  also  drawn  to  the  document  which  is  'Monthly
monitoring of the sex ratio of institutional birth'. It stated thus:-
“The data is collected on  monthly  basis  from  50  major  hospitals  which
accounts for 50.87% of total registered births in the year  2013  in  Delhi.
This helps to review the sex ratio at the  highest  level  in  the  shortest
possible time without waiting for the yearly indicators. The  sex  ratio  of
institutional births on the basis of these 50 hospitals was also 895 in  the
year 2013.  Efforts  will  be  made  to  increase  the  coverage  of  health
institutions under the monthly  monitoring  system  to  make  this  exercise
meaningful and truly representative of the ground reality.”

22.   Learned counsel appearing for NCT of Delhi, had  drawn  our  attention
to the affidavit filed by the Union of  India  and  especially  to  Annexure
'E'. Annexure 'E' is only report on registration of  births  and  deaths  in
Delhi in 2013. At page 114, the  profile  of  birth  Registration  had  been
mentioned under the caption 'The birth registration  in  civil  registration
system'. It is as follows:-
“During 2013, a total of 370000 birth events  were  registered  by  all  the
local bodies taken together. Out of them, 1.95 lakhs (52.76%) were male  and
1.75 lakhs (47.24%) were female.  Statement  3.1:  Total  Number  of  Births
registered under CRS sex-wise.


|Year     |Total     |Male     |Female    |Sex Ratio|
|         |Births    |         |          |         |
|2001     |296287    |163816   |132471    |809      |
|         |          |(55.29)  |(44.71)   |         |
|2002     |300659    |164184   |136475    |831      |
|         |          |(54.61)  |(45.39)   |         |
|2003     |301165    |165173   |135992    |823      |
|         |          |(54.84)  |(45.16)   |         |
|2004     |305974    |167849   |138125    |823      |
|         |          |(54.86)  |(45.11)   |         |
|2005     |324336    |178031   |146305    |822      |
|         |          |(54.89)  |(45.11)   |         |
|2006     |322750    |176242   |146508    |831      |
|         |          |(54.69)  |(45,39)   |         |
|2007     |322044    |174289   |147755    |848      |
|         |          |(54.12)  |(45.88)   |         |
|2008     |333908    |166583   |167325    |1004     |
|         |          |(49.89)  |(50.11)   |         |
|2009     |354482    |185131   |169351    |915      |
|         |          |(52.22)  |(47.78)   |         |
|2010     |359463    |189122   |170341    |901      |
|         |          |(52.61)  |(47.39)   |         |
|2011     |353759    |186870   |166889    |893      |
|         |          |(52.82)  |(47.18)   |         |
|2012     |360473    |191129   |169344    |886      |
|         |          |(53.02)  |(46.98)   |         |
|2013     |370000    |195226   |174774    |895”     |
|         |          |(52.76)  |(47.24)   |         |


23.   The data furnished by the NCT of Delhi was  contested  on  the  ground
that it was collected from 50  major  hospitals.   The  Court  noticed  that
there had really been no improvement with regard  to  the  sex  ratio.   The
Court took note of the submissions of Mr. Gonsalves, learned senior  counsel
for the petitioner and Mr.  Parikh,  learned    counsel  for  the  impleaded
respondent(s) and observed that under Section 16(2)(f)(ii) and (iii)   there
should be eminent women activists from non-governmental  oraganisations  and
eminent gynaecologists and obstetricians or  experts  of               stri-
roga or prasuti tantra to be the members and thought it apt  to  state  that
there can be eminent women activists  from  non-governmental  organizations,
eminent gynaecologists and obstetricians or experts of stri-roga or  prasuti
tantra and eminent radiologists or sonologists but  care  has  to  be  taken
that they do not have conflict of interest.
24.   On 15.09.2015, the Court noted the submission of  Ms.  Anitha  Shenoy,
learned counsel appearing for Dr. Sabu Mathew George,  the  newly  impleaded
party, that the  appropriate  authorities  are  not  following  the  mandate
enshrined under Rule 18A  of  the  Rules.   Keeping  in  view  the  language
employed in the said Rule, the  Court  directed  that  all  the  appropriate
authorities including the State, districts and sub-districts notified  under
the Act shall submit quarterly progress report to the  Government  of  India
through  the  State  Government  and  maintain  Form  H  for   keeping   the
information of all  registrations  readily  available.   The  Court  further
directed that the States shall file the compliance report pertaining to sub-
rule (6) of Rule 18A of the Rules and also directed counsel  for  the  Union
of India to apprise the  Court  about  the  information  received  from  the
various appropriate authorities.

25.   On 17.11.2015 when the matter was taken up, the Court adverted to  the
fact that the State of Odisha, as  directed,  had   provided  the  Committee
relevant  documents,  especially  the  documents  which  are  required   for
eradicating the deficiencies pointed out by the  Committee.   Be  it  noted,
the Committee had earlier pointed out certain deficiencies.  The  State  had
filed the documents  in  pursuance  of  the  order  of  the  Court  and  the
Committee had filed report pertaining to the State of Odisha.   Paragraph  4
of the report reads as follows:-
“4. The State of Odisha had cited the data on Sex Ratio at  Birth  from  the
Civil Registration of births of State. State Provided the relevant data  and
C.D. M.O, Odisha. There  are  314  rural  registration  units  &  100  urban
registration units I 30 districts in Odisha State. All the data is based  on
the records of civil registration system. The Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB)  data
for the year 2013 submitted in the affidavit  is  886  whereas  as  per  the
records submitted by the  State  data  for  the  same  period  is  890.  The
representatives of the State clarified that in the  affidavit,  the  figures
were provisional.”

26.    Mr.  Gonsalves,  learned  senior  counsel  had  also  filed  a  chart
containing 'District-wise Sex Ratio at Birth  of  Odisha  State'  commencing
from the year 2010 to 2014. The said chart is reproduced below:-
“District wise sex ratio at birth of Odisha State

|Sl.No  |Name of the   |2010   |2011   |2012   |2013   |2014  |
|       |District      |       |       |       |       |      |
|1      |2             |3      |4      |5      |6      |7     |
|1      |Angul         |894    |900    |879    |890    |904   |
|2      |Balasore      |923    |891    |912    |870    |870   |
|3      |Argarh        |923    |889    |913    |891    |913   |
|4      |Bhadrak       |923    |891    |876    |883    |875   |
|5      |Bolangir      |945    |930    |933    |950    |939   |
|6      |Boudh         |983    |957    |936    |934    |918   |
|7      |Cuttack       |860    |874    |860    |854    |843   |
|8      |Deogarh       |896    |954    |958    |954    |938   |
|9      |Dhenkanal     |856    |833    |850    |845    |849   |
|10     |Gajapati      |875    |930    |927    |890    |892   |
|11     |Ganjam        |902    |880    |867    |813    |794   |
|12     |Jagatsinghpur |912    |905    |842    |777    |852   |
|13     |Jajpur        |863    |876    |828    |824    |823   |
|14     |Jharsuguda    |859    |902    |882    |908    |878   |
|15     |Kalahandi     |888    |935    |968    |989    |942   |
|16     |Kandhamal     |912    |943    |950    |962    |940   |
|17     |Kendrapara    |881    |836    |828    |734    |705   |
|18     |Keonjhar      |934    |923    |950    |965    |930   |
|19     |Khurda        |892    |876    |884    |885    |842   |
|20     |Koraput       |935    |943    |960    |945    |942   |
|21     |Malkangiri    |948    |947    |993    |942    |935   |
|22     |Mayurbhanj    |955    |934    |936    |931    |933   |
|23     |Nawarangpur   |962    |932    |936    |979    |965   |
|24     |Nayagarh      |874    |859    |774    |844    |811   |
|25     |Nuapada       |945    |956    |955    |909    |1055  |
|26     |Puri          |933    |888    |874    |873    |854   |
|27     |Rayagada      |955    |954    |939    |931    |945   |
|28     |Sambalpur     |906    |918    |908    |891    |903   |
|29     |Subarnapur    |940    |934    |946    |939    |965   |
|30     |Sundargarh    |911    |892    |865    |897    |906   |
|       |Odisha        |911    |902    |896    |886    |889”  |


      Learned counsel submitted that when the sex ratio reduces  below  900,
there is a signal of a social disaster. He had pointed out that  there  were
many districts where it had fallen below 900 and drawn the attention of  the
Court to two districts, namely, Kendrapara and Ganjam to highlight that  the
sex ratio had gone down to 705 and 794  in  2014.  Be  it  stated,  the  two
districts were only referred to highlight  how the sex ratio had  fallen  in
the year 2014 than what it was in 2010.
27.   We have adumbrated the  history  of  the  litigation,  the  directions
issued by this Court from time to time and adverted to how  this  Court  has
appreciated the impact of sex ratio on a civilized society having regard  to
the legislative intendment under the  Act,  the  suggestions  given  by  the
learned counsel for the petitioner, the verification done by the  Monitoring
Committee, and the crisis the country is likely to  face  if  the  obtaining
situation is allowed to prevail.  As is  manifest,  this  Court  had  issued
directions from 2001 onwards in different writ petitions and in the  instant
writ petition, as noticed earlier, number of  directions  were  issued  and,
thereafter, certain  clarifications  were  made.  The  narration  shows  the
concern.
28.   It needs no special emphasis that a female child is entitled to  enjoy
equal right that a male  child  is  allowed  to  have.   The  constitutional
identity of a female child cannot be mortgaged to  any  kind  of  social  or
other concept that has developed or is thought of.  It does  not  allow  any
room for any kind of compromise.  It only  permits  affirmative  steps  that
are constitutionally postulated.  Be it clearly stated that when rights  are
conferred by the Constitution, it has to be understood that such rights  are
recognised regard being had to their naturalness and universalism.  No  one,
let it be repeated, no one, endows any right to a female child or, for  that
matter,  to  a  woman.  The  question  of  any  kind  of  condescension   or
patronization does not arise.
29.   When a female foetus is destroyed through artificial  means  which  is
legally impermissible, the dignity  of  life  of  a  woman  to  be  born  is
extinguished.  It corrodes the human values.  The Legislature has brought  a
complete code and it subserves the constitutional purpose.  We  may  briefly
refer to the scheme of the Act and the Rules framed  thereunder.  Section  2
of the Act is the dictionary  clause  and  it  defines   “foetus”,  “Genetic
Counselling Centre”,  “Genetic  Clinic”,  “Genetic  Laboratory”,  “pre-natal
diagnostic  procedures”,  “pre-natal  diagnostic   techniques”,   “pre-natal
diagnostic test”,  “sex  selection”,  “sonologist  or  imaging  specialist”.
Section 3 provides for Regulation of Genetic  Counselling  Centers,  Genetic
Laboratories and Genetic Clinics.  Section 3A imposes  prohibition  of  sex-
selection. Section 3B prohibits the sale of  ultrasound  machine,  etc.,  to
persons,  laboratories,  clinics,  etc.,  not  registered  under  the   Act.
Section  4  regulates  pre-natal  diagnostic  techniques.         Section  5
stipulates  written  consent  of   pregnant   woman   and   prohibition   of
communicating the sex of foetus.  Section 6 prohibits determination of  sex.
 Chapter IV of the Act deals with the Central Supervisory  Board.   Sections
7 – 16A deal with the constitution of the  Board,  meetings  of  the  Board,
functions  of  the  Board,   which   includes   reviewing   and   monitoring
implementation of the Act and Rules made thereunder.  Section  16A  commands
the States and Union Territories to have a Board to be known  as  the  State
Supervisory Board or the Union Territory Supervisory Board, as the case  may
be, to carry out the functions enumerated therein.  Chapter V  provides  for
the  Appropriate  Authority  and  Advisory  Committee.  Sub-section  (4)  of
Section 17 deals with the powers of the  Appropriate  Authority.   The  said
provision being significant is extracted hereunder:-
“(4) the Appropriate Authority shall have the following functions, namely –
(a) to grant, suspend  or  cancel  registration  of  a  Genetic  Counselling
Centre, Genetic Laboratory or Genetic Clinic;
(b) to enforce standards prescribed  for  the  Genetic  Counselling  Centre,
Genetic Laboratory and Genetic Clinic;
(c) to investigate complaints of breach of the provisions  of  this  Act  or
the rules made thereunder and take immediate action;
(d)to seek and consider the advice of the  Advisory  Committee,  constituted
under sub-section (5), on application for  registration  and  on  complaints
for suspension or cancellation of registration;
(e) to take appropriate legal action against the use of  any  sex  selection
technique by any person at any place, suo motu or brought to its notice  and
also to initiate independent investigations in such matter;
(f) to create public awareness against the practice of sex selection or pre-
natal determination of sex;
(g) to supervise the implementation of the provisions of the Act and rules;
(h) to recommend to the Board and State  Boards  modifications  required  in
the rules in accordance with changes in technology or social conditions;
(i) to take action on the recommendations of  the  Advisory  Committee  made
after  investigation  of  complaint  for  suspension  or   cancellation   of
registration.”

30.   Section 17A enumerates the  powers  of  the  Appropriate  Authorities.
The said provision reads as follows:-
“17A. Powers of Appropriate Authorities.- The  Appropriate  Authority  shall
have the powers in respect of the following maters, namely:-
(a) summoning of  any  person  who  is  in  possession  of  any  information
relating to violation of the provisions  of  this  Act  or  the  rules  made
thereunder;
(b) production of any document or material object relating to clause (a);
(c) issuing search warrant for any place suspected to be  indulging  in  sex
selection techniques or pre-natal sex determination; and
(d) any other matter which may be prescribed.”

31.    Section  18  deals  with  the  registration  of  Genetic  Counselling
Centres, Genetic Laboratories  or  Genetic  Clinics.   Sections  19  and  20
provide for certificate of registration and cancellation  or  suspension  of
registration.   Chapter VII deals with offences and penalties.   Section  22
stipulates prohibition of advertisement relating to                     pre-
conception  and  pre-natal  determination  of   sex   and   punishment   for
contravention and Section 23 deals with offences and penalties.  Section  24
which has been brought into the Act by way of an amendment with effect  from
          14.02.2003 states with  regard  to  presumption  in  the  case  of
conduct  of  pre-natal  diagnostic  techniques.  Section  26  provides   for
offences by companies.   Section  28  provides  that  no  court  shall  take
cognizance of an offence under the Act except on a  complaint  made  by  the
Appropriate Authority concerned, or any officer authorized  in  this  behalf
by the Central Government or State Government, as the case may  be,  or  the
Appropriate Authority; or a person who has given notice  of  not  less  than
fifteen days in the manner prescribed.   Section  29  occurring  in  Chapter
VIII which deals with miscellaneous  matters  provides  for  maintenance  of
records. Section 30 empowers the appropriate authority in respect of  search
and seizure of records. The rule framed under Section 32 of the Act  is  not
comprehensive.  Various Forms have been provided to meet the requirement  by
the Rules.  On a perusal of the Rules and the Forms, it is clear as  crystal
that attention has been given to every detail.
32.   Having stated about the scheme of the  Act  and  the  purpose  of  the
various provisions and also the Rules framed under the Act, the dropping  of
sex ratio still remains a social affliction and a disease.
33.   Keeping in view the deliberations made from time to  time  and  regard
being had to the purpose of the Act and  the  far  reaching  impact  of  the
problem, we think it  appropriate  to  issue  the  following  directions  in
addition to the directions issued in the earlier order:-
(a) All the States and the Union  Territories  in  India  shall  maintain  a
centralized database of civil registration  records  from  all  registration
units so that information can be made available from the  website  regarding
the number of boys and girls being born.
(b) The information that shall be displayed on  the  website  shall  contain
the birth information for each District, Municipality, Corporation  or  Gram
Panchayat so that a  visual  comparison  of  boys  and  girls  born  can  be
immediately seen.
(c) The statutory authorities if not constituted as envisaged under the  Act
shall be constituted forthwith and  the  competent  authorities  shall  take
steps for the reconstitution of  the  statutory  bodies  so  that  they  can
become immediately functional after expiry of the term.   That  apart,  they
shall meet regularly so that the provisions of the Act  can  be  implemented
in reality and the effectiveness of the legislation is felt and realized  in
the society.
(d) The provisions contained  in  Sections  22  and  23  shall  be  strictly
adhered to. Section 23(2) shall be  duly  complied  with  and  it  shall  be
reported by  the  authorities  so  that  the  State  Medical  Council  takes
necessary action after the intimation is given  under  the  said  provision.
The Appropriate Authorities who have been  appointed  under  Sections  17(1)
and 17(2) shall be imparted periodical training to carry out  the  functions
as required under various provisions of the Act.
(e) If there has been violation of any of the provisions of the Act  or  the
Rules, proper action has to be taken by the authorities  under  the  Act  so
that the legally inapposite acts are immediately curbed.
(f) The Courts which deal with the complaints under the Act  shall  be  fast
tracked and the concerned High Courts shall issue appropriate directions  in
that regard.
(g) The judicial officers who are to deal with these  cases  under  the  Act
shall be  periodically  imparted  training  in  the  Judicial  Academies  or
Training Institutes, as the case may be,  so that they can be sensitive  and
develop the requisite sensitivity as projected in the  objects  and  reasons
of the Act and its various provisions  and  in  view  of  the  need  of  the
society.
(h) The Director of Prosecution or, if the  said  post  is  not  there,  the
Legal Remembrancer or the Law Secretary shall  take  stock  of  things  with
regard to the lodging of prosecution so that  the  purpose  of  the  Act  is
subserved.
(i) The Courts that deal with the complaints under the Act shall  deal  with
the matters in promptitude and submit  the  quarterly  report  to  the  High
Courts through the concerned Sessions and District Judge.
(j) The learned Chief Justices of each of the High  Courts  in  the  country
are  requested  to  constitute  a  Committee  of  three  Judges   that   can
periodically oversee the progress of the cases.
(k)  The awareness campaigns with regard to the provisions  of  the  Act  as
well as the social awareness shall be undertaken as  per  the  direction  No
9.8 in the order dated March 4, 2013 passed in Voluntary Health  Association
of Punjab  (supra).
(l) The State Legal Services Authorities of the States shall  give  emphasis
on this campaign during the spread of legal aid and involve  the  para-legal
volunteers.
(m) The Union of India and the States  shall  see  to  it  that  appropriate
directions are issued to the authorities of All India Radio and  Doordarshan
functioning in various States to  give  wide  publicity  pertaining  to  the
saving of the girl child and  the  grave  dangers  the  society  shall  face
because of  female foeticide.
(n) All the appropriate authorities  including  the  States  and   districts
notified under the  Act  shall  submit  quarterly  progress  report  to  the
Government of India through the State Government and  maintain  Form  H  for
keeping the information of all registrations readily available as  per  sub-
rule 6 of Rule 18A of the Rules.
(o) The States and Union Territories shall implement the Pre-conception  and
Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection)  (Six  Months
Training) Rules, 2014  forthwith  considering  that  the  training  provided
therein is imperative for realising the objects and purpose of this Act.
(p) As the Union of India and some States framed incentive schemes  for  the
girl child, the States that have not  framed  such  schemes,  may  introduce
such schemes.
34.   Before parting with the case, let it  be  stated  with  certitude  and
without allowing any room for any kind of  equivocation  or  ambiguity,  the
perception of any individual or group or organization or system  treating  a
woman with inequity, indignity, inequality or any kind of discrimination  is
constitutionally impermissible. The historical perception has to be given  a
prompt burial. Female foeticide is conceived by the society that  definitely
includes the parents because of unethical perception of life and  nonchalant
attitude towards law.  The society that treats  man  and  woman  with  equal
dignity shows the reflections of a progressive and  civilized  society.   To
think that a woman should think what a man or a society wants her  to  think
is tantamounts to slaughtering her  choice,  and  definitely  a  humiliating
act. When freedom of  free  choice  is  allowed  within  constitutional  and
statutory parameters, others  cannot  determine  the  norms  as  that  would
amount to acting in derogation of law.  Decrease in the sex ratio is a  sign
of colossal calamity and it cannot be allowed  to  happen.   Concrete  steps
have to be taken to increase the same so that invited  social  disasters  do
not befall on  the  society.  The  present  generation  is  expected  to  be
responsible to the posterity and not to take such  steps  to  sterilize  the
birth rate  in  violation  of  law.   The  societal  perception  has  to  be
metamorphosed having respect to legal postulates.
35.   Now, we shall advert to the prayers in Writ Petition  (Civil) No.  575
of 2014. The writ petition has been  filed  by  Indian  Medical  Association
(IMA). It is contended that Sections 3-A, 4, 5, 6, 7, 16, 17,  20,  23,  25,
27 and 30 of the Act and Rules 9(4), 10 & Form  “F”  (including  foot-note),
which being the subject matter of concern in the instant writ petition,  are
being misused and wrongly interpreted by the concerned  authorities  thereby
causing undue harassment to the medical professionals all over  the  country
under the guise of the ‘so-called implementation’. It is  also  urged  that,
implementation of steps and scrutiny of records was started at  large  scale
all over the country and lot of anomalies were found in  records  maintained
by doctors throughout the country.  It is however pertinent to mention  here
that the majority of the defaults were of  technical  nature  as  they  were
merely minor and clerical errors committed  occasionally  and  inadvertently
in the filing of Form “F”. It is also  put  forth  that  the  Act  does  not
classify the offences and owing to the liberal and  vague  terminology  used
in the Act, it is thrown open  for  misuse  by  the  concerned  implementing
authorities and has resulted  into  taking  of  cognizance  of  non-bailable
(punishable by three years) offences against doctors even in  the  cases  of
clerical errors, for instance non-mentioning of  N.A.  (Not  Applicable)  or
leaving of any column in the concerned Form “F” as  blank.   It  is  further
submitted that the said unfettered  powers  in  the  hands  of  implementing
authority have resulted into turning of  this  welfare  legislation  into  a
draconian novel way of encouraging demands for bribery as well as  there  is
no prior independent investigation as mandated under Section 17 of  the  Act
by these Authorities. It is also set forth that the Act states  merely  that
any contravention with any of the provisions of the Act would be an  offence
punishable under Section 23(1) of the said  Act  and  further  all  offences
under the Act have been  made  non-bailable  and  non-compoundable  and  the
misuse of the  same  can  only  be  taken  care  of  by  ensuring  that  the
Appropriate Authority applies its mind to the fact  of  each  case/complaint
and only on satisfaction of a prima facie case, a complaint be filed  rather
than launching prosecution mechanically in each case. With these  averments,
it  has  been  prayed  for  framing  appropriate  guidelines  and  safeguard
parameters, providing for classification of  offences  as  well,  so  as  to
prohibit the misuse of the PCPNDT Act  during  implementation  and  to  read
down this Sections 6, 23, 27 of PCPNDT Act.  That apart, it has been  prayed
to add certain provisos/exceptions to Sections 7, 17, 23 and Rule 9  of  the
Rules.
36.   In our considered opinion, whenever there is an abuse of  the  process
of the law, the individual can always avail the legal remedy.  As  we  find,
neither the validity  of  the  Act  nor  the  Rules  has  been  specifically
assailed in the writ petition. What has been prayed is to read  out  certain
provisions and to add certain exceptions.  We  are  of  the  convinced  view
that the averments of  the  present  nature  with  such  prayers  cannot  be
entertained and, accordingly, we decline to interfere.
37.   In the result, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 349 of 2006  stands  disposed
of in terms of the directions issued by us and  Writ  Petition  (Civil)  No.
575 of 2014 stands dismissed.   In the facts and circumstances of the  case,
there shall be no order as to costs.

                                             .............................J.
                                                               [Dipak Misra]



                                             ............................ J.
    [Shiva Kirti Singh]
New Delhi;
November 8, 2016
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[1]     (1997) 7 SCC 110
[2]    (2001) 5 SCC 577
[3]    (2003) 8 SCC 398
[4]     (2013) 4 SCC 1

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