Centre for inquiry into health & allied themes(CEHAT) vs. Unionof India

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Centre for inquiry into health & allied themes(CEHAT) vs. Unionof India

 

In Supreme Court of India
Citation
Writ petition (civil) 301 of 2000
Petitioner
Centre for inquiry into health and allied themes (CEHAT)
Respondent
Union of India
Date of Judgement
10th September, 2003
Bench
M.B. Shah & Ashok Bhan

Background:

The case that we discuss today is a landmark judgment in legal history of India. The case of CEHAT vs. U.O.I deals with the practice of prenatal testing diagnostic for sex determination. There has been evidently high misuse of technology in regards with this as well as the patriarchal mindset of people has resulted in a very shocking incident of female infanticide and female foeticide. Due to this Parliament enacted a bill for the same named Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 later on some amendments were made in the same act named Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (prohibition of sex selection) Act, 2003. In the present case CEHAT which is a non-governmental organisation focusing on betterment of people filed a petition in regards of the implementation of the said act. There were several cases wherein the sex of the baby was diagnosed and if the sex of the child was of a baby girl then the foetus was aborted. Discrimination against girl child still prevails in India this is due to several facts. So, the present case works towards the proper implementation of such Act passed by the Parliament.

Issues:

1. The first petition raised by CEHAT was to get the misuse of the technology checked also bring notice to the court where all the technology was practised in all the clinics all around the country.

2. The second petition was filed to bring into notice of the court that the amended act was not properly known by people provided that the previous orders were also not complied.

Facts:

1. The population census of 2001 stated that the sex ratio of the country has been badly affected in some states as compared to others and the sole reason for such was the pre-natal diagnostic technique which the Parliament had earlier banned.

2. Centre for inquiry into health and allied themes which worked towards betterment of people filed a petition in regards for the implementation of such act.

3. Apex court in its order dated 04.05.2001 stated that it was unfortunate that female infanticide prevailed in our country. Thus the SC gave directions for the following affect:

a) Directions to the Central Government

– to create public awareness regarding pre-natal diagnostic and female infanticide.

– Advisory committee should meet up regularly.

b) Orders for Central Supervisory Board (CSB)

– Ensure meetings are conducted once in 6 months.

– Ensure the reviewing and monitoring of the act’s implementation.

– Report shall be furnished by the appropriate authorities.

c) Order to State Government

– Proper authorities at state and district level.

– To institute advisory committee and proper campaigning in such effect.

– To aware people about the ill effects of such mal practices.

d) Orders to the appropriate authority

– To take action against any individual who violates section 22 of the act.

– To furnish report in regards of CSB.

4. The act was amended in 2003 keeping in mind the directions issued by the SC.

Contentions Raised:

Petitioner:

1. The first contention raised by the Petitioner was that Pre-natal diagnosis was done at several clinics despite of the fact that the said practice was made punishable by the court earlier.

2. The second contention raised was that there was no proper education as well as awareness among the public regarding the same.

3. The Petitioner urged the court to look into the matter and stop the same mal practices.

Respondent:

1. Respondent contended that appropriate action was taken regarding the same.

2. Central, state and district advisory board was set up.

3. Proper campaigning and awareness to the public was made through electronic media.

Significance of the Judgement:

1. The SC directed the Central Government and State Government to file their respective responses in regard of the guidelines that were laid. However the court was not satisfied with their response.

2. Due to this the SC gave new directions in furtherance of the order that was previously given:

a) For the effective implementation of the said amended act the SC held that the advertisement for the same should be done through electronic media till the people are aware of the fact that discrimination towards sex is not acceptable and the same is punishable.

b) There should be publication of the quarterly report which are submitted to the advisory board.

c) record of all the meetings shall be recorded by appropriate authority.

d) Information shall be made accessible to the general public of the records that are maintained by the Authority.

e) Report of the committee shall also be sent to the Central Supervisory Board and State Supervisory Board.

f) The National Monitoring and inspection Committee which was formed for the proper implementation of the act shall work towards the same effectively.

3. It is very unfortunate that still discrimination is done in our country. Where people seek blessings of goddesses for everything do kill their female foetus just because a girl would bring upon added responsibility provided that girl would result in giving dowry which too is punishable but is still prevalent in our country.

4. Though it is 21st century but still the shrewd mindset of the people have not changed.

5. Abortion, pre-natal diagnosis is all prevalent in India which all needs to stop with the coming time and the mindset of the people have to broadened and made aware regarding the same.

Edited by Shuvneek Hayer

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje