Prenatal child sex determination and female child infanticide has plagued India for long. According to the latest census figures, female infanticide, foeticide and every other form of female infant genocide seems to be alive and kicking. The national female-male sex ratio has dipped to an all-time low of 933/1000. In some states, the situation is dire. Haryana, for example, has 861 females to 1,000 males. Chandigarh has 773, Daman and Diu 709, Punjab, 874. The sex ratio of children in the 0-6 age group is no better. While the all-India figure is 927/1000, it is 793 in both Punjab and Haryana.
The Government of India introduced The Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 to curb this practice and brought into operation from 1st January, 1996. PNDT Act and Rules have been amended keeping in view the emerging technologies for selection of sex before and after conception and problems faced in the working of implementation of the ACT and certain directions of Honorable Supreme Court. These amendments have come into operation with effect from 14th February, 2003.
As per this act
- No Genetic Counseling Centre, Genetic Laboratory or Genetic Clinic unless registered under this Act, shall conduct or associate with, or help in, conducting activities relating to pre-natal diagnostic techniques;
- No Genetic Counseling Centre, Genetic Laboratory or Genetic Clinic shall employ or cause to be employed any person who does not possess the prescribed qualifications;
- No medical geneticist, gynecologist, pediatrician, registered medical practitioner or any other person shall conduct or cause to be conducted or aid in conducting by himself or through any other person, any pre-natal diagnostic techniques at a place other than a place registered under this Act
To ensure that registered clinics/labs follow this act, the act further requires every Genetic Counseling Centre, Genetic Laboratory and Genetic Clinic to maintain a register showing, in serial order, the names and addresses of the women given genetic counseling, subjected to pre-natal diagnostic procedures or pre-natal diagnostic tests, the names of their husbands or fathers and the date on which they first reported for such counseling, procedure or test. Further every Genetic Counseling Centre, Genetic Laboratory and Genetic Clinic is also required to prominently display on its premises a notice in English and in the local language or languages for the information of the public, to effect that disclosure of the sex of the foetus is prohibited under law. Further the act requires every ultrasound center to submit a monthly report to the local municipal corporation.
The person who contravenes the provisions of this Act is punishable with imprisonment and fine.