SC and HC Judgments Online at MyNation

Judgments of Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Federation Of Obstetrics And … vs Union Of India on 3 May, 2019

1

REPORTABLE

INTHESUPREMECOURTOFINDIA
CIVILORIGINALJURISDICTION

WRITPETITION(CIVIL)NO.129OF2017

FederationofObstetricsand
GynecologicalSocietiesofIndia(FOGSI)..Petitioner

Versus

UnionofIndiaandothers..Respondents

JUDGMENT

ArunMishra,J.

1.TheinstantwritpetitionhasbeenfiledbytheFederationof

ObstetricsandGynaecologicalSocietiesofIndia(FOGSI)

(hereinafterreferredtoas‘theSociety’)highlightingtheissues

andproblemsaffectingthepracticeofobstetriciansand

gynaecologistsacrossthecountryunderthePre­conceptionand

Pre­natalDiagnosticTechniques(ProhibitionofSexSelection)

Act,1994(hereinafterreferredtoas‘theAct’)andchallengingthe

constitutionalvalidityofSections23(1)andSection23(2)oftheActand

seekingdirectioninthenatureofcertiorari/mandamusfor
SignatureNotVerified

Digitallysignedby
NARENDRAPRASAD
Date:2019.05.03
17:08:57IST
Reason:

decriminalisinganomaliesinpaperwork/recordkeeping/clerical

errorsinregardoftheprovisionsoftheActforbeingviolativeof
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Articles14,19(1)(g)and21oftheConstitutionofIndia.The

Societyistheapexbodyofobstetriciansandgynaecologistsofthe

countryandisconcernedforthewelfareofitsmembers.

2.Thecasesetuponbehalfofthepetitioner­Societyisthat

theActwasenactedwiththeobjectivetoprohibitpre­natal

diagnostictechniquesfordeterminationofsexofthefoetus

leadingtofemalefoeticide.Butunfortunately,its

implementationismoreinletterandlessinspirit.Theproblem

ofsexdeterminationandgenderselectionisaseriousissueand

isoneofthebiggestsocialproblemsfacedbyoursociety.

DespiteenactmentoftheActandsubsequentamendments,the

ChildSexRatiohasnotshownsignificantimprovement,hence,

puttingsufficientconcernandquestionsontheproper

implementationoftheAct.Itiscontendedthatequatingclerical

errorsonthesamefootingwiththeactualoffenceofsex

determinationshowstheinherentweaknessinthelanguageof

theAct.

3.ItisfurthercontendedthattheAppropriateAuthority

appointedundertheActconductsinspectionsandraidsin

variousdistrictsandcitiesandeveniftherearemereanomalies
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inthepaperwork,itsealsthesonographymachineandfilesa

criminalcaseundertheAct.Asaresult,doctorswhodonot

conductsexdeterminationandgenderselectionarebeing

targetedonthebasisofaforesaidanomalies.Theinherent

infirmityintheActasitstandscurrentlyinitspresentform

amountingtotreatingunequalsasequals.SectionTheActhasfailedto

distinguishbetweencriminaloffencesandtheanomaliesin

paperworklikeincomplete‘F’­Forms,clericalmistakessuchas

writingNAorincompleteaddress,nomentioningofthedate,

objectionablepicturesofRadhaKrishnainsonographyroom,

incompletefillingofForm‘F’,indicationforsonographynot

written,fadednoticeboardandnotlegible,strikingoutdetailsin

theForm‘F’etc.,therebychargingthemembersofthepetitioner­

Societyforheinouscrimeoffemalefoeticideandsex

determinationandthattoomerelyforunintentionalmistakesin

recordkeeping.SectionTheActprovidessamepunishmentforthe

contraventionofanyprovisionoftheAct,thusequatingthe

anomaliesinpaperworkandtheoffenceofsexdeterminationand

genderselectiononthesamepedestal.Thesealingofmachines

directlydeprivesawomaninthatvicinityofacriticalmedicalaid

andtherebyputtingthelivesofthewomenindanger.The
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unreasonablesealingofthesonographymachinenotonly

impactsthewelfareofthewomenassuch,butitalsoamountsto

undueharassmentandmentaltortureofthemembersofthe

petitioner­Society.

4.Itisfurthercontendedthattheambiguouswordingof

Section23(1)oftheActhasresultedingravemiscarriageof

justiceandthemembersofthepetitioner­Societyhavefaced

gravehardshipsandhaveundergonecriminalprosecutionfor

act,whichcannotbeequatedwiththeactsofsexdetermination.

5.Itisaverredthateventhesmallestanomalyinpaperwork

whichisinfactaninadvertentandunintentionalerrorhasmade

theobstetriciansandgynaecologistsvulnerabletothe

prosecutionbytheAuthoritiesalloverthecountry.

6.Section23(2)oftheActempowerstheStateMedicalCouncil

tosuspendtheregistrationofanydoctorindefinitely,whois

reportedbytheAppropriateAuthorityfornecessaryaction,

duringthependencyoftrial.Thepetitioner­Societysubmitted

thatSection23(2)oftheActisultravirestheConstitutionasit

assumestheguiltoftheallegedaccusedevenbeforehis/her

convictionbyacompetentcourtandhenceviolatesthe
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fundamentalrightguaranteedunderSectionArticle21ofthe

Constitution.

7.Itiscontendedthatpresumptionofinnocenceisacardinal

principleofruleoflawforwhichpetitioner­Societyhasplaced

relianceonSectionArticle14(2)oftheInternationalCovenantonCivil

andPoliticalRights,1966,whichstatesthateveryonecharged

withacriminaloffenceshallhavetherighttobepresumed

innocentuntilprovedguiltyaccordingtolaw.SectionArticle14(2)ofthe

InternationalCovenantonCivilandPoliticalRights,1966reads

thus:

“SectionArticle14

1.***

2.Everyonechargedwithacriminaloffenceshallhavetheright
tobepresumedinnocentuntilprovedguiltyaccordingtolaw.”

8.ItiscontendedthattheActfailstodistinguishbetweenthe

casesofpresenceandabsenceofmensreaduringthe

commissionofminorclericalmistakes.Mensreaisnotbe

presumedatthetimeoftakingcognizanceandmustbe

establishedasheldbythisCourtinSectionArunBhandariv.Stateof

U.P.,(2013)2SCC801.

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9.Thepetitioner­Societyhasfurtherplacedrelianceonthe

decisionsrenderedbythisCourtincasesofpenalstatuestogive

propereffecttotheschemeoftheActconcernedandtobalance

variousinterestsinvolvedbystrikingdown/readingdown/

dilutingtheconcernedpenalprovisions.

10.Itisfurthercontendedthatsuspensionofthemedical

licenceatthestageofframingofchargesishighlyimproperand

harsh,whichresultsinlossoflivelihoodofnotonlythemembers

oftheSociety,butalsohisfamilyaswellasthedependents,who

aredeprivedoffinancialsecurityandwell­being.Thevagueand

ambiguouswordingsofSection23(1)rendersSection25totally

redundant.

11.ItisfurthersubmittedthatForm­Fasitstandstodaydoes

notservethepurposeforwhichitwasmadeandthereisno

substantiveevidencewhichprovesthaterrorsinForm­Fhave

anydirectnexuswiththeoffenceofsexselectionand

determination.

12.RespondentNos.1to4hasrefutedtheclaimsofthe

petitioner­Societyaltogether.ItiscontendedthattheActisa

socialwelfarelegislationwithasocialobjectivetoprevent
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eliminationofgirlsbeforebirthanditisnotagenerallaw

providinganygeneralrighttopracticemedicine.Thespecific

choiceoflegislaturecannotbecalledarbitraryandisinnoway

ultraviresorviolativeoftheConstitution.SectionTheActisaCentral

legislation;however,itsimplementationliesprimarilywiththe

States,whoarerequiredtoenforcethelawthroughthestatutory

bodiesintheState,constitutedundertheAct.SectionTheActempowers

theCentralGovernmenttoregulatetheuseofpre­natal

diagnostictechniques.Theproliferationofthetechnologyis

resultinginacatastropheintheformoffemalefoeticideleading

tosevereimbalanceinchildsexratioandsexratioatbirth.The

Centreisdutyboundtointerveneinsuchacasetoupholdthe

welfareofthesociety,especiallyofthewomenandthechildren.

SectionTheActwasenactedwithapurposetobantheuseofsex

selectiontechniquesbeforeorafterconception;preventthe

misuseofpre­nataldiagnostictechniquesforsexselection

abortionsandtoregulatesuchtechniques.Itismandatoryto

maintainproperrecordinrespectofuseofultrasoundmachines

undertheAct.ForeffectiveimplementationoftheAct,a

hierarchyofAppropriateAuthorityatState,DistrictandSub­

Districtleveliscreated.

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13.Itiscontendedthatultrasonographytestonapregnant

womanisconsideredtobeanimportantpartofapre­natal

diagnostictestandthepersonconductingsuchtesthasto

maintainacompleterecordthereofinthemannerprescribedin

therulesandadeficiencyorinaccuracyinmaintainingsuch

recordswouldamounttoanoffence.ChapterVIIoftheAct

prescribesoffencesandpenaltiesandthereisnogradationof

offencesundertheActasitdoesnotclassifyoffences.Equating

theclericalerrorsonsamefootingwiththeactualoffenceofsex

determinationisincompliancewiththeprovisionsoftheActand

rulesthereunder.SectionTheActdoesnotdifferentiateamongthe

violationscommittedbydoctorsandprovidesforpunishmentfor

allviolationsundertheAct.SectionTheActprescribespunishmentin

furtheranceofitsobjectandpurposeswhichistoprevent

detectionoffemalefoetuswhichisinthelargerpublicinterest,

henceSection23oftheActdoesnotviolateArticles14and21.

Itisfurtheraverredthatrighttopracticeaprofessionunder

SectionArticle19(1)(g)oftheConstitutionisnotanabsoluteright.

14.Itiscontendedthatpetitioner­Societyinthegarbofsocial

causeistryingtomisleadthisCourtandacriminalactcannotbe
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protectedundertheumbrellaoftheSectionArticle19.Theoffences

undertheActarepersecriminalandnoexemptioncanbe

soughtforcriminalviolationsintheguiseofpublicinterestor

righttofreedom.

15.ItiscontendedthattheAppropriateAuthorityconducts

inspectionpursuanttothedirectionsissuedbythisCourtin

CentreforEnquiryintoSectionHealthAlliedThemes(CEHAT)v.Union

ofIndia,(2003)8SCC398,whereinitwasdirectedtoconstitute

NationalInspectionandMonitoringCommitteeforconducting

inspections.Asthesexdeterminationishatchedinsecrecyand

committedinprivacyandasboththepartiesarehandinglove

witheachother,thereforeitbecomesdifficulttodetectthe

commissionoftheoffence,hencetrapsareusuallylaidorraids

areconductedbytheinspectingauthoritiesandsometimesnon­

maintenanceofrecordsorincompleterecordsmayprovide

substantialevidencetowardsthecommissionofoffence.Itis

furthersubmittedthattheActspecificallyprovidesfortherecord

keepingunderRule9ofthePre­conceptionandPre­natal

DiagnosticTechniques(ProhibitionofSexSelection)Rules,1996

(hereinafterreferredtoas‘theRules’)andanydeficiencyor
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inaccuracyinrecordkeepingamountstoviolationofSections5

andSection6oftheAct.

16.Therespondentscontendthatrecordkeepingisimportant

forproperimplementationoftheActandthestringentprovisions

withregardtomaintenanceofrecordsandpunishmentfor

non­compliancecannotbeequatedorconsideredasinfirmityof

theAct.Ifitisexemptedfromthemandatoryrequirement,the

probablyinvolvementinsexdeterminationandsexselectionin

theguiseofuseofdiagnostictechniqueswouldcontinue

unabated.

17.ItisalsocontendedthatthepurposeofForm‘F’isto

maintainpersonalandmedicalrecordofthepatientvisitingthe

Pre­NatalDiagnosticClinictoavailtheservicesandconfirmation

regardingtheconsentofthepatient/pregnantwomanwith

regardtotheprohibitionofcommunicationofthesexoffoetusso

astoavoidabuseofthetechnology.Section4(3)oftheAct

requireseveryGeneticCounsellingCentre/GeneticClinictofill

Form‘F’.ThefillingofForm‘F’iscommensuratewiththeobjects

oftheActwhichistoregulatethetechnologyandtoavoidthe

abuseofthetechnologyforthepurposeofsexdetermination.It
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givestheinsightintothereasonsforconductingultrasonography

andincompleteForm‘F’raisespresumptionofdoubtagainstthe

medicalpractitionerandintheabsenceofForm‘F’,the

AppropriateAuthoritywillhavenomeanstosupervisetheusage

oftheultrasonographymachineandshallnotbeabletoregulate

theuseofthetechnique.Thenon­maintenanceofrecordsisnot

merelyatechnicalorprocedurallapseinthecontextofsex

determination,itisthemostsignificantpieceofevidencefor

identifyingtheaccused.Itisfurthercontendedthatclerical

errorsinForm‘F’fallunderSection4oftheActandany

deficiencyorinaccuracyfoundthereinshallamountto

contraventionoftheprovisionsofSection5or6oftheActunless

contraryisprovedbythepersonconductingsuch

ultrasonography.

18.Itiscontendedthateveryaggrievedperson,whosuffered

fromanyproceduralirregularity,canavaillegalremedyas

providedunderSection21oftheActandRule19oftheRules.

19.Therespondentshaveplacedrelianceondecisionrendered

byHighCourtofGujaratinSectionSuoMotuv.StateofGujarat,(2009)1

GLR64,whichdealtwiththeissueofpropermaintenanceof
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recordsandtothedecisionrenderedbyHighCourtofRajasthan

inSectionS.K.Guptav.UnionofIndia,whereinitwasobservedthat

femaleinfantshavealsorighttolive.Thereisrightofstillborn

childtobelookedafterproperlyduringpregnancy.Onceachild

isconceived,ithastobetreatedwithdignity.Suchrightcannot

bedeniedandpracticeoffemalefoeticide/infanticideisprevailing

atlargewhichisillegalandunconstitutional.

20.Therespondentshavealsodrawnourattentiontothe

provisionsofRegulation1.3oftheIndianMedicalCouncil

(ProfessionalConduct,EtiquetteandEthics)Regulations,2002;

Regulation6.2ofPharmacyPracticeRegulation,2015;and

TransplantationofHumanOrgansandTissuesAct,1994,which

containstheprovisionswithrespecttomaintenanceofproper

records.

21.ItissubmittedthatSection23andSection25are

complimentarytoeachother,notcontradictoryascontendedby

thepetitioner­Society.Itislastlycontendedthatnocasefor

strikingdowntheprovisotoSection4(3)ismadeout.

22.ShriSoliJ.SorabjeeandShriShyamDivan,learnedsenior

counselurgedthatpresentistheclassicexampleofunequals
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beingtreatedasequals.DuetoinherentinfirmityintheAct,

whereundermembersofthepetitioner­Societyaretreated

unequallyasmereclericalerrorshasresultedinbreachof

personalliberties.SectionTheActfailstoclassifyoffenceofactualsex

determinationvis­à­visclericalerrorinmaintenanceofrecord.

Thereisnogradationofoffence.

23.Thepresumptionofinnocenceoughtnottobedisposed

awaywithundertheAct.Thesameispartofhumanrights.

Presumptionofinnocencecontinuesuntilconviction.The

provisionsofsuspensionunderSection23(2)isdraconian.Any

deficiencyorinaccuracyinmaintenanceofrecordsoughtnotto

amounttocontraventionunderSection5orSection6andthe

provisotoSection4(3)accordinglybediluted.Itmaybeclarified

thatcontraventionofprovisotoSection4(3),Section29andRule

9ortechnicallapsesattractingminorpenaltyshouldnotattract

Section27oftheAct.TheprovisionofSection23(2)beread

downsothatsuspensionshouldnotfallunderSection23(2)in

thecaseofclericalmistakesorinadvertenttechnical

errors/lapses.Issuanceofnoticebemademandatoryunder

Section20.Noactionbetakenontechnicalgroundssuchas

writingshortforms,writing‘NA’insteadof“notapplicable”,
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writinginitialsofthedoctorsetc.whilefilingupForm‘F’.The

competentauthorityshouldconsidereachcaseonmeritswith

theaidoflegaladvisor.Denialofrenewalofregistrationof

Centreofarunningunitonthegroundofpendencyofcriminal

trialisillegalandharsh.Thereshouldnotbeseizureofany

equipmentetc.asultrasoundmachinearenecessaryforhuman

use.Itisnotappropriatetokeepsuchutilitarianinstruments

sealed.

24.Ms.PinkiAnand,AdditionalSolicitorGeneralappearingon

behalfofrespondentscounteringthesubmissionraisedonbehalf

ofpetitioner­Societycontendedthatthereisalarmingdeclinein

thechildsexratioinIndiaandinseveraldistrictsitisworseas

theratioperthousandisbelow800.Shehasalsoreliedupon

thepurposeandlegislativehistoryofenactmentoftheAct

includingamendmentsmadethereunderandtheRules.Ithas

beenmademandatorytomaintainproperrecordsinrespectof

useofultrasoundmachines.SectionTheActprovidesforprohibitionof

sexselection/determinationaswellasregulationofpre­natal

diagnostictechniques.Therateofconvictionisextremelypoor,

despite24yearsoftheexistenceoftheAct,itisonly586outof

4202casesregistered,resultingintoactionagainst138medical
15

licenses.EmphasishasbeenlaidbythisCourtinseveral

decisionsonpropermaintenanceofrecords.Section23isthe

centralprovisionintheschemeoftheAct.Form‘F’isvery

importantasitgivesthedetailsandthereasonsforconducting

ultrasonographyandincompleteForm‘F’raisesthepresumption

ofdoubtagainstthemedicalpractitioner.Section23andForm

‘F’areinter­linked,thus,theprovisionscannotbediluted.She

furthercontendedthatthenon­maintenanceofrecordsisnot

merelyprocedurallapse,itiskeyevidencegiventhecollusive

natureofthecrime.Thereexisteffectiveandefficacious

remediestotheinstancescitedbythepetitioner­Society.She

alsorelieduponacasestudyonrecordkeepingasan

implementationtoolofPrabhakarHospitalinPanipat.SectionTheAct

enjoysapresumptionofconstitutionalityandnocaseofviolation

offundamentalrightshasbeenmadeoutbythepetitioner­

Society.SectionTheActisregulatoryandisforthewholesomepurpose

sameadvancestheintendmentofotherprovisionsapplicableto

medicalfraternity,whichrequiresrigorousmaintenanceof

records.Consideringthewideprevalenceofviolenceagainst

womenandchildrenindifferentforms,theLegislaturehas

enactedseveralActsinordertoensuregenderjusticeandtotake
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careofcryoffemalefoetus.Nocaseforstrikingdown,dilutionor

issuanceofanyguidelinesismadeoutbythepetitioner­Society.

25.ItwasurgedonbehalfofintervenorthatSection28ofthe

Actmakesitclearthatnocourtshalltakecognizanceofan

offenceunlessonacomplaintmadebyAppropriateAuthority.

ThecompositionofAppropriateAuthorityisprovidedunder

Section17(3)(a),whichisaHigh­PoweredBody.TheSupervisory

BoardshallreviewtheactivitiesoftheAppropriateAuthoritiesas

providedunderSection16A(1)(ii).TheSupervisoryCommittee

consistsoflargebody.Thus,thereareadequatesafeguardsto

maintaincheckandbalanceprovidedwithintheAct.

26.Beforewedilateuponvariousaspects,wetakenoteof

provisionsoftheAct.SectionTheActwasintroducedbyParliamentwith

thefollowingStatementofObjectsandReasons:

“STATEMENTOFOBJECTSANDREASONS

Itisproposedtoprohibitpre­nataldiagnostictechniquesfor
determinationofsexofthefoetusleadingtofemalefoeticide.
Suchabuseoftechniquesisdiscriminatoryagainstthefemale
sexandaffectsthedignityandstatusofwomen.Alegislationis
requiredtoregulatetheuseofsuchtechniquesandtoprovide
deterrentpunishmenttostopsuchinhumanact.

TheBill,interalia,providesfor:—

(i)prohibitionofthemisuseofpre­nataldiagnostic
techniquesfordeterminationofsexoffoetus,leading
tofemalefoeticide;

(ii)prohibitionofadvertisementofpre­nataldiagnostic
techniquesfordetectionordeterminationofsex;

17

(iii)permissionandregulationoftheuseofpre­natal
diagnostictechniquesforthepurposeofdetectionof
specificgeneticabnormalitiesordisorders;

(iv)permittingtheuseofsuchtechniquesonlyunder
certainconditionsbytheregisteredinstitutions;and

(v)punishmentforviolationoftheprovisionsofthe
proposedlegislation.

2.TheBillsseekstoachievetheaboveobjectives.”

TheconcernoftheLegislaturewasthatthefemalechildis

notwelcomedwithopenarmsinmostofIndianfamiliesandthe

diagnostictechniqueisbeingusedtocommitfemalefoeticide.

27.ThefemalefoeticideisnotonlytheconcernofIndia,butof

variouscountries.TheUnitedNationsGeneralAssemblyhad

adoptedResolutionNo.52/106on11.2.1998expressingconcern

aboutpre­natalsexselection,femaleinfanticideandfemale

genitalmutilation.ThesaidResolutionalsourgedallStatesto

enactandenforcelegislationprotectinggirlsfromallformsof

violence,includingfemaleinfanticideandprenatalsexselection.

TheUnitedNationsFourthWorldConferenceonWomenin

September,1995adoptedtheBeijingDeclarationandPlatform

forAction.BeijingDeclarationandPlatformforAction

identified“violenceagainstwomen”to“includeforcedsterilization

andforcedabortion,coercive/forceduseofcontraceptives,female

infanticideandpre­natalsexselection”.Itfurtherurged

Governmentsto“enactandenforcelegislationagainstthe
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perpetratorsofpracticesandactsofviolenceagainstwomen,

suchasfemalegenitalmutilation,femaleinfanticide,prenatal

sexselectionanddowry­relatedviolence”.Furtherurged

Governmentsto“Eliminateallformsofdiscriminationagainstthe

girlchildandtherootcausesofsonpreference,whichresultin

harmfulandunethicalpracticessuchaspre­natalsexselection

andfemaleinfanticide;thisisoftencompoundedbythe

increasinguseoftechnologiestodeterminefoetalsex,resulting

inabortionoffemalefoetuses”.

28.BeijingDeclarationandPlatformforActionwasadoptedat

the16thPlenaryMeetingoftheFourthWorldConferenceon

Womenheldon15.9.1995atBeijing.Therelevantextract

relatingtoviolenceagainstwomenandactionstobetakenis

reproducedhereunder:

“115.Actsofviolenceagainstwomenalsoincludeforced
sterilizationandforcedabortion,coercive/forceduseof
contraceptives,femaleinfanticideandprenatalsexselection.

StrategicobjectiveL.2.Eliminatenegativeculturalattitudesand
practicesagainstgirls

Actionstobetaken

276.ByGovernments:

(a)Encourageandsupport,asappropriate,non­governmental
organizationsandcommunity­basedorganizationsintheirefforts
topromotechangesinnegativeattitudesandpracticestowards
girls;

(b)**

(c)**
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(d)Takestepssothattraditionandreligionandtheirexpressions
arenotabasisfordiscriminationagainstgirls.

277.ByGovernmentsand,asappropriate,internationaland
non­governmentalorganizations:

(a)**

(b)**

(c)Eliminateallformsofdiscriminationagainstthegirlchildand
therootcausesofsonpreference,whichresultinharmfuland
unethicalpracticessuchasprenatalsexselectionandfemale
infanticide;thisisoftencompoundedbytheincreasinguseof
technologiestodeterminefoetalsex,resultinginabortionof
femalefoetuses”

29.The1994ProgrammeofActionoftheInternational

ConferenceonPopulationandDevelopment(ICPD)resolvedto

eliminateallformsofdiscriminationagainstthegirlchildandthe

rootcausesofsonpreference,whichresultinharmfuland

unethicalpracticesregardingfemaleinfanticideandprenatalsex

selection,andalsotoincreasepublicawarenessofthevalueof

thegirlchild.FurtherurgedGovernmentstotakenecessary

measurestopreventinfanticide,prenatalsexselection,

traffickingofgirlchildrenandforcingofgirlsinprostitutionand

pornography.TheInternationalConferenceonPopulationand

DevelopmentadoptedtheProgrammeofActionofthe

InternationalConferenceonPopulationandDevelopmentand

passedtheresolutionatthe14thPlenarymeetingheldon

13.9.1994.Therelevantportionoftheaforesaidresolutionis

extractedhereunder:

20

“4.15.Sinceinallsocietiesdiscriminationonthebasisofsex
oftenstartsattheearlieststagesoflife,greaterequalityforthe
girlchildisanecessaryfirststepinensuringthatwomenrealize
theirfullpotentialandbecomeequalpartnersindevelopment.In
anumberofcountries,thepracticeofprenatalsexselection,
higherratesofmortalityamongveryyounggirls,andlowerrates
ofschoolenrolmentforgirlsascomparedwithboys,suggestthat
“sonpreference”iscurtailingtheaccessofgirlchildrentofood,
educationandhealthcare.Thisisoftencompoundedbythe
increasinguseoftechnologiestodeterminefoetalsex,resulting
inabortionoffemalefoetuses.Investmentsmadeinthegirl
child’shealth,nutritionandeducation,frominfancythrough
adolescence,arecritical.

Objectives
4.16.Theobjectivesare:

(a)Toeliminateallformsofdiscriminationagainstthegirlchild
andtherootcausesofsonpreference,whichresultsinharmful
andunethicalpracticesregardingfemaleinfanticideandprenatal
sexselection;

(b)Toincreasepublicawarenessofthevalueofthegirlchild,and
concurrently,tostrengthenthegirlchild’sself­image,self­esteem
andstatus;

(c)Toimprovethewelfareofthegirlchild,especiallyinregardto
health,nutritionandeducation.

4.23.Governmentsareurgedtotakethenecessarymeasuresto
preventinfanticide,prenatalsexselection,traffickingingirl
childrenanduseofgirlsinprostitutionandpornography.”

30.TheResolution56/139adoptedbytheU.N.General

Assembly,on26.2.2002expresseddeepconcernabout

discriminationagainstthegirlchild,includingpracticessuchas

femaleinfanticide,incest,earlymarriage,prenatalsexselection

etc.TheResolutionalsourgedStatestoenactandenforce

legislationtoprotectgirlsfromallformsofviolence,including

femaleinfanticideandprenatalsexselection,femalegenital

mutilation,rape,domesticviolence,incest,sexualabuse,sexual

exploitation,childprostitutionandchildpornography,andto
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developage­appropriatesafeandconfidentialprogrammesand

medical,socialandpsychologicalsupportservicestoassistgirls

whoaresubjectedtoviolence.TheGeneralAssemblyofUnited

Nationsadoptedthefollowingresolutionno.56/139on

26.2.2002:

“Deeplyconcernedaboutdiscriminationagainstthegirlchildand
theviolationoftherightsofthegirlchild,whichoftenresultin
lessaccessforgirlstoeducation,nutritionandphysicaland
mentalhealthcareandingirlsenjoyingfeweroftherights,
opportunitiesandbenefitsofchildhoodandadolescencethan
boysandoftenbeingsubjectedtovariousformsofcultural,
social,sexualandeconomicexploitationandtoviolenceand
harmfulpractices,suchasfemaleinfanticide,incest,early
marriage,prenatalsexselectionandfemalegenitalmutilation.

10.AlsourgesallStatestoenactandenforcelegislationto
protectgirlsfromallformsofviolence,includingfemale
infanticideandprenatalsexselection,femalegenitalmutilation,
rape,domesticviolence,incest,sexualabuse,sexualexploitation,
childprostitutionandchildpornography,andtodevelopage­
appropriatesafeandconfidentialprogrammesandmedical,
socialandpsychologicalsupportservicestoassistgirlswhoare
subjectedtoviolence.”

31.Resolution70/138,adoptedbytheU.N.GeneralAssembly

on17.12.2015,alsoexpresseditsconcernatdiscrimination

againstgirlchildincludingpre­natalsexselection,andurged

states“toenactandenforcelegislationtoprotectgirlsfromall

formsofviolence,discrimination,exploitationandharmful

practicesinallsettings,includingfemaleinfanticideandprenatal

sexselection”.

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32.TheGeneralAssemblyofUnitedNationsinthe80thPlenary

Meetingadoptedresolutionno.70/138dated17.12.2015

concerningthegirlchild,therelevantportionofthesaid

resolutionreadsthus:

“…Deeplyconcernedalsoaboutdiscriminationagainstthegirl
childandtheviolationoftherightsofthegirlchild,including
girlswithdisabilities,whichoftenresultinlessaccessforgirlsto
education,andtoqualityeducation,nutrition,includingfood
allocation,andphysicalandmentalhealth­careservices,ingirls
enjoyingfeweroftherights,opportunitiesandbenefitsof
childhoodandadolescencethanboys,andinleavingthemmore
vulnerablethanboystotheconsequencesofunprotectedand
prematuresexualrelationsandoftenbeingsubjectedtovarious
formsofcultural,social,sexualandeconomicexploitationand
violence,abuse,rape,incest,honour­relatedcrimesandharmful
practices,suchasfemaleinfanticide,child,earlyandforced
marriage,prenatalsexselectionandfemalegenitalmutilation.

20.UrgesallStatestoenactandenforcelegislationtoprotectgirls
fromallformsofviolence,discrimination,exploitationand
harmfulpracticesinallsettings,includingfemaleinfanticideand
prenatalsexselection,femalegenitalmutilation,rape,domestic
violence,incest,sexualabuse,sexualexploitation,child
prostitutionandchildpornography,traffickingandforced
migration,forcedlabourandchild,earlyandforcedmarriage,
andtodevelopage­appropriate,safe,confidentialanddisability­
accessibleprogrammesandmedical,socialandpsychological
supportservicestoassistgirlswhoaresubjectedtoviolenceand
discrimination.

29.CallsuponGovernments,civilsociety,includingthemedia,
andnon­governmentalorganizationstopromotehumanrights
educationandfullrespectforandtheenjoymentofthehuman
rightsofthegirlchild,interalia,throughthetranslation,
productionanddisseminationofage­appropriateandgender­
sensitiveinformationmaterialonthoserightstoallsectorsof
society,inparticulartochildren.

30.RequeststheSecretary­General,asChairoftheUnited
NationsSystemChiefExecutivesBoardforCoordination,to
ensurethatallorganizationsandbodiesoftheUnitedNations
system,individuallyandcollectively,inparticulartheUnited
NationsChildren’sFund,theUnitedNationsEducational,
ScientificandCulturalOrganization,theWorldFoodProgramme,
theUnitedNationsPopulationFund,theUnitedNationsEntity
forGenderEqualityandtheEmpowermentofWomen(UN­
Women),theWorldHealthOrganization,theJointUnitedNations
ProgrammeonHIV/AIDS,theUnitedNationsDevelopment
23

Programme,theOfficeoftheUnitedNationsHighCommissioner
forRefugeesandtheInternationalLabourOrganization,takeinto
accounttherightsandtheparticularneedsofthegirlchildin
countryprogrammesofcooperationinaccordancewithnational
priorities,includingthroughtheUnitedNationsDevelopment
AssistanceFramework.”

33.TheGeneralAssemblyofUnitedNationsadoptedthe

followingresolutionno.52/106on12.12.1997keepinginview

thediscriminationagainstthegirlchildandviolationofher

rights:

“Deeplyconcernedaboutdiscriminationagainstthegirlchildand
theviolationoftherightsofthegirlchild,whichoftenresultin
lessaccessforgirlstoeducation,nutrition,physicalandmental
healthcareandingirlsenjoyingfeweroftherights,opportunities
andbenefitsofchildhoodandadolescencethanboysandoften
beingsubjectedtovariousformsofcultural,social,sexualand
economicexploitationandtoviolenceandharmfulpracticessuch
asincest,earlymarriage,femaleinfanticide,prenatalsex
selectionandfemalegenitalmutilation.

3.AlsourgesallStatestoenactandenforcelegislationprotecting
girlsfromallformsofviolence,includingfemaleinfanticideand
prenatalsexselection,femalegenitalmutilation,incest,sexual
abuse,sexualexploitation,childprostitutionandchild
pornography,andtodevelopage­appropriatesafeand
confidentialprogrammesandmedical,socialandpsychological
supportservicestoassistgirlswhoaresubjectedtoviolence.”

34.Theconcernworldoverastofemalefoeticideandinfanticide

iswritlargefromaforesaidresolution.Itisworthwhiletoquote

thestatisticsofWorldFactbook,2016oftheCentralIntelligence

AgencyoftheUnitedStatesofAmericaonfemale

foeticide/infanticideacrosstheworld,whichistothefollowing

effect:

RankNameofthecountrySexratioatbirth
24

1.Liechtenstein126males/100females
2.China115males/100female
3.Armenia113males/100females
4.India112males/100females
5.Azerbaijan111males/100females
5.VietNam111males/100females
6.Albania110males/100females
7.Georgia108males/100females
8.SouthKorea107males/100females
8.Tunisia107males/100females
9.Nigeria106males/100females
10.Pakistan105males/100females
11.Nepal104males/100females

35.ThereissharpdeclineinthesexratioinIndia.Intheyear

1901where972femalesasagainst1000maleswererecorded.

In1961,itwasrecordedas941;in1971itwas930;in1981it

wasreported934;in1991itwas927;in2001itwas933andin

2011itwas943.Onbehalfofrespondent­UnionofIndia

followingStatewisedatahasbeenfurnished:

“SexRatio(Femaleper1000Male)atBirthbyresidence,IndiaandbiggerStates,
SRS2012­14to2014­16

S.N.Indiaand2012­2013­Change2013­2014­Change
India906900­6900898­2

1.Andhra919918­1918913­5
Pradesh

2.Assam918900­18900896­4

3.Bihar9079169916908­8

4.Chhattisgarh973961­129619632

5.Delhi876869­7869857­12

6.Gujarat907854­53854848­6

7.Haryana866831­358318321

8.Himachal938924­14924917­7

9.Jammu89989908999067
Kashmir

10.Jharkhand910902­890291816
25

11.Karnataka950939­11939935­4

12.Kerala974967­7967959­8

13.Madhya927919­89199223
Pradesh

14.Maharashtra896878­18878876­2

15.Orissa953950­3950948­2

16.Punjab870889198898934

17.Rajasthan893861­32861857­4

18.TamilNadu921911­109119154

19.TelanganaN.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.901N.A.

20.Uttar869879108798823
Pradesh
21.Uttarakhand871844­278448506
22.WestBengal952951­1951937­14

Theaforesaidtableindicatesdeclinein18Statesand

maximumdeclineof53pointswasrecordedinGujaratfollowed

byHaryanaby35pointsandRajasthanby32points.Sexratio

oftheStatesin2014­2016indicatesdeclinein13States.The

maximumdeclineof14pointswasrecordedinWestBengal

followedbyDelhirecordedat12points.Inapublicationof

UnitedNations(UNFPA),itwaspublishedthat0.46milliongirls

weremissingatbirthonanaverageannuallyduringtheperiod

2001­2012asaresultofsex­selectiveabortions.Thefallinsex

ratiosdoesnotonlyhaveanimpactonthedemographyofthe

nation,butitalsogivesrisetoviolentpracticessuchas

traffickingofwomenandbridebuying.SectionTheActwasconceived

outoftheurgencyfortheprohibitionofsexselectionpractices

andprohibitionoftheadvertisementofthepre­nataldiagnostic

techniquesfordetection/determinationofsex.Itcameintoforce
26

intheyear1996.Itwasamendedin2003followingaPILwhich

wasfiledin2000toimproveregulationoftechnologycapableof

sexselection.BywayofamendmentintheAct,thenameofthe

ActhasbeenchangedtoPre­ConceptionandPre­natal

DiagnosticTechniques(ProhibitionofSexSelection)Act,1994.

ThemainpurposeoftheActistobantheuseofsexselection

andmisuseofpre­nataldiagnostictechniqueforsexselective

abortionsandtoregulatesuchtechniques.Theamendments

havebroughttechniquesofpre­conceptionsexselectionwithin

theambitoftheActandhavealsobroughtuseofultrasound

machinesunderitsumbrella.Ithasfurtherprovidedfor

constitutionofCentralandStateLevelSupervisoryBoard.More

stringentpunishmentshavebeenprovided.TheAppropriate

Authoritieshavebeengivenpowersofcivilcourtforsearch,

seizureandsealing.Themaintenanceofrecordhasbeenmade

mandatoryinrespectofuseofultrasoundmachines.Ithasalso

regulatedthesaleofultrasoundmachinesonlytotheregistered

bodies.SectionTheActprovidesforprohibitionofsex

selection/determinationandregulatepre­nataldiagnostic

technology.Severalimportantamendmentswerenotifiedinthe

Rules.Rule11(2)wasamendedin2011toprovidefor
27

confiscationoftheunregisteredmachinesandSection23(1)

prescribesimprisonmentuptothreeyearsandwithfineuptoten

thousandrupeesagainsttheunregisteredclinic/facilitiesandon

anysubsequentconviction,theimprisonmentmayextendtofive

yearsandwithfinewhichmayextendtofiftythousandrupees

andSection23(3)prescribesimprisonmentuptothreeyearsof

imprisonmentandwithfineuptofiftythousandrupeesagainst

theunregisteredclinic/facilitiesforthefirstoffenceandforany

subsequentoffence,theimprisonmentmayextendtofiveyears

andwithfinewhichmayextendtoonelakhrupees.Rule3A(3)

hasbeeninsertedin2012torestricttheregistrationofmedical

practitionersqualifiedundertheActtoconductultrasonography

inmaximumoftwoultrasoundfacilitieswithinadistrictonly.

NumberofhoursduringwhichtheRegisteredMedical

Practitionerwouldbepresentineachclinicwouldbespecified

clearlytotheAppropriateAuthority.Theamendmentmadeto

Rule13in2012requireseveryGeneticCounsellingCentres,

GeneticLaboratory,GeneticClinic,UltrasoundClinicand

ImagingCentretointimateeverychangeofemployee,place,

addressandequipmentinstalledtotheAppropriateAuthority30

daysinadvanceoftheexpecteddateofsuchchangeandseeks
28

issuanceofanewcertificatewiththechangesdulyincorporated.

Rulesforsixmonths’traininginultrasoundfortheMBBS

doctorshavebeennotifiedvideGSR14(E)dated10.1.2014.The

Rulesincludethetrainingcurriculum,criteriaforaccreditationof

institutionswhichwillimparttrainingandprocedurefor

CompetencyBasedEvaluationTestforsuchtrainedmedical

practitioners.RevisedForm‘F’hasbeennotifiedvideGSR77(E)

date4.2.2014.Therevisedformatismoresimplifiedasthe

detailsofinvasiveandnon­invasivediagnosticprocedureshave

beenseparatedandmademoresimplified.

36.Thereareonly586convictionsoutof4202casesregistered

evenafter24yearsofexistence.Itreflectsthechallengesbeing

facedbytheAppropriateAuthorityinimplementingthissocial

legislation.BelowisthechartshowingStatewisestatusof

implementationoftheActasonSeptember2018submittedon

behalfofrespondents:

StatewisestatusofimplementationofthePCPNDTActason
SEPTEMBER,2018
S.No.States/UTsNo.ofNo.ofNo.ofConvictions*MedicalNumber
registeredongoingMachineslicensesofcases
bodiesCourt/seized/cancelled/decided/
Policesealedsuspendedclosed
cases
1.Andhra31192018008
Pradesh

2.Arunachal970­00­
Pradesh
3.Assam930114104

4.Bihar2761132386032
29

5.Chhattisgar700140007
h

6.Goa1741100

7.Gujarat5994235218799

8.Haryana21443135628521157

9.Himachal46404103
Pradesh

10.Jammu49331310­
Kashmir

11.Jharkhand76132020­

12.Karnataka4711495838041

13.Kerala17370­00­

14.Madhya17235017439
Pradesh

15.Maharashtra86725874629979358

16.Manipur1300­00­

17.Meghalaya500­00­

18.Mizoram610­00­

19.Nagaland490000­

20.Odisha100166­504

21.Punjab16031473831193

22.Rajasthan303970150614921368

23.Sikkim270000­

24.TamilNadu6717123­109283

25.Telangana3547241083025

26.Tripura481­00­

27.Uttarakhand64747124016

28.Uttar60311393920110
Pradesh

29.WestBengal32382429001

30.ANIsland170­00­

31.Chandigarh1831­002

32.DNHaveli160000­

33.Daman100000­
Diu

34.Delhi158410417010357

35.Lakshadeep90­00­

36.Puducherry1091­00­
TOTAL62596282520815861381377
Note:*ConvictionsandMedicallicensesdatauptoJune2018

37.Inthelightofaforesaid,weexaminethesubmissionraised

onbehalfofpetitionerbaseduponclericalerrors.Itwasurged

thatthelicenseofmembersofnoblecharitableprofessionare

beingsuspendedonaccountofclericalerrors/mistakesinpaper

workundertheActandtheRulesmadethereunder.Onaccount
30

ofclericalerrorsinfillingupoftheforms,itwouldnotbe

appropriatetoinflictthepunishment.Incaseofactualoffenceof

sexdetermination,theprovisionsoftheActmaygovernthefield.

Assubmissionappearstobeattractiveanditrequiresdeep

scrutinywhetheritisaclericalerrorinfillingupoftheformsor

isfoundationofsubstantialbreachoftheprovisionsoftheAct

andRulesframedthereunder.ItwasurgedthatSection23of

theActtreatsunequalsasequalsandthereisinfirmityintheAct

astheclericalerrorinfillingupoftheForm‘F’cannotbetreated

atparwithactualoffenceofsexdetermination.Thereisno

gradationoftheoffenceundertheAct.Learnedseniorcounsel

hasplacedrelianceonSectionUttarPradeshPowerCorporationLtd.vs.

AyodhyaPrasadMishra,(2008)10SCC139,whereinthisCourt

heldthatunequalscannotbetreatedequally.Treatingof

unequalsasequalswouldaswelloffendthedoctrineofequality

enshrinedinArticles14and16oftheConstitution.Thesameis

extractedhereunder:

“40.Itiswellsettledthatequalscannotbetreatedunequally.
Butitisequallywellsettledthatunequalscannotbetreated
equally.Treatingofunequalsasequalswouldaswelloffendthe
doctrineofequalityenshrinedinArticles14and16ofthe
Constitution.TheHighCourtwas,therefore,rightinholdingthat
ExecutiveEngineersplacedinCategoryImustgetpriorityand
preferenceforpromotiontothepostofSuperintendentEngineer
overExecutiveEngineersfoundinCategoryII.”
31

38.Itiscontendedthatmerelyclericalerrorcannotbeequated

withoffencesasmentionedinSections5andSection6oftheAct.The

mainpurposeandtheobjectoftheActisbeingmisusedand

morethan60percentcasesregisteredundertheAct,are

pertainingtonon­maintenanceofrecord.

39.Inordertoappreciatewhetheritisclericalomissionor

otherwise,wehavetodelveontheprovisionsoftheActwhatis

mandatedthereunder.Section3providesforregulationof

GeneticCounsellingCentres,GeneticLaboratoriesandGenetic

Clinics,Section3Adealswithprohibitionofsex­selectionand

Section3Bdealswithprohibitiononsaleofultrasoundmachine,

etc.topersons,laboratories,clinics,etc.notregisteredunderthe

Act.Thesameareextractedhereunder:

“3.RegulationofGeneticCounsellingCentres,Genetic
LaboratoriesandGeneticClinics.—Onandfromthe
commencementofthisAct,—

(1)noGeneticCounsellingCentre,GeneticLaboratoryorGenetic
ClinicunlessregisteredunderthisAct,shallconductorassociate
with,orhelpin,conductingactivitiesrelatingtopre­natal
diagnostictechniques;

(2)noGeneticCounsellingCentreorGeneticLaboratoryor
GeneticClinicshallemployorcausetobeemployedortake
servicesofanypersonwhetheronhonorarybasisoronpayment
whodoesnotpossessthequalificationsasmaybeprescribed;

(3)nomedicalgeneticist,gynaecologist,paediatrician,registered
medicalpractitioneroranyotherpersonshallconductorcause
tobeconductedoraidinconductingbyhimselforthroughany
otherperson,anypre­nataldiagnostictechniquesataplace
otherthanaplaceregisteredunderthisAct.

32

3A.Prohibitionofsex­selection.—Noperson,includinga
specialistorateamofspecialistsinthefieldofinfertility,shall
conductorcausetobeconductedoraidinconductingbyhimself
orbyanyotherperson,sexselectiononawomanoramanoron
bothoronanytissue,embryo,conceptus,fluidorgametes
derivedfromeitherorbothofthem.

3B.Prohibitiononsaleofultrasoundmachine,etc.,to
persons,laboratories,clinics,etc.,notregisteredunderthe
Act.—Nopersonshallsellanyultrasoundmachineorimaging
machineorscanneroranyotherequipmentcapableofdetecting
sexoffoetustoanyGeneticCounsellingCentre,Genetic
Laboratory,GeneticClinicoranyotherpersonnotregistered
undertheAct.”(emphasissupplied)

40.Section4dealswithregulationofpre­nataldiagnostic

techniques,whichisextractedhereunder:

“4.Regulationofpre­nataldiagnostictechniques.—Onand
fromthecommencementofthisAct,—

(1)noplaceincludingaregisteredGeneticCounsellingCentreor
GeneticLaboratoryorGeneticClinicshallbeusedorcausedto
beusedbyanypersonforconductingpre­nataldiagnostic
techniquesexceptforthepurposesspecifiedinclause(2)and
aftersatisfyinganyoftheconditionsspecifiedinclause(3);

(2)nopre­nataldiagnostictechniquesshallbeconductedexcept
forthepurposesofdetectionofanyofthefollowing
abnormalities,namely:—

(i)chromosomalabnormalities;

(ii)geneticmetabolicdiseases;

(iii)haemoglobinopathies;

(iv)sex­linkedgeneticdiseases;

(v)congenitalanomalies;

(vi)anyotherabnormalitiesordiseasesasmaybespecified
bytheCentralSupervisoryBoard;

(3)nopre­nataldiagnostictechniquesshallbeusedorconducted
unlessthepersonqualifiedtodosoissatisfiedforreasonstobe
recordedinwritingthatanyofthefollowingconditionsare
fulfilled,namely:—

(i)ageofthepregnantwomanisabovethirty­fiveyears;

(ii)thepregnantwomanhasundergoneoftwoormore
spontaneousabortionsorfoetalloss;

(iii)thepregnantwomanhadbeenexposedtopotentially
teratogenicagentssuchasdrugs,radiation,infectionor
chemicals;

33

(iv)thepregnantwomanorherspousehasafamilyhistory
ofmentalretardationorphysicaldeformitiessuchas,
spasticityoranyothergeneticdisease;

(v)anyotherconditionasmaybespecifiedbytheBoard;

Providedthatthepersonconductingultrasonographyona
pregnantwomanshallkeepcompleterecordthereofinclinicin
suchmanner,asmaybeprescribed,andanydeficiencyor
inaccuracyfoundthereinshallamounttocontraventionofthe
provisionsofsection5orsection6unlesscontraryisprovedby
thepersonconductingsuchultrasonography;
(4)nopersonincludingarelativeorhusbandofthepregnant
womanshallseekorencouragetheconductofanypre­natal
diagnostictechniquesonherexceptforthepurposesspecifiedin
clause(2).

(5)nopersonincludingarelativeorhusbandofawomanshall
seekorencouragetheconductofanysex­selectiontechniqueon
herorhimorboth.”
(emphasissupplied)

ThereisprohibitioncreatedunderSection4(1)touseany

registeredGeneticCounsellingCentreorGeneticLaboratoryor

GeneticClinicforconductingpre­nataldiagnostictechniques

exceptforthepurposesspecifiedinsub­section(2)ofSection4.

Wrongexpressionhasbeenusedasclause(2)intheAct,whereit

shouldbesub­section(2).Bethatasitmay.Section4(2)

providesforconductingofpre­nataldiagnostictechniquesforthe

purposeofdetectionofabnormalities.

Section4(3)providesthatnopre­nataldiagnostic

techniquesshallbeusedunlessthepersonqualifiedtodosois

satisfiedforthereasonstoberecordedinwritingthatprescribed

conditionsarefulfilledsuchasageofthepregnantwomenis

abovethirty­fiveyears;thepregnantwomanhasundergonetwo
34

ormorespontaneousabortionsorfoetalloss;shehadbeen

exposedtopotentiallyteratogenicagentssuchasdrugs,

radiation,infectionorchemicals;thepregnantwomanorher

spousehasafamilyhistoryofmentalretardationorphysical

deformitiesasprescribedtherein;oranyotherconditionasmay

bespecifiedbytheBoard.

Intheabsenceofaforesaidfulfilmentoftheaforesaid

conditionsprovidedinSection4(3)andintheabsenceof

abnormalityasprovidedinSection4(2),nosuchtestcanbe

performed.ProvisotoSection4(3)makesitmandatorythat

personconductingultrasonographyonapregnantwomanshall

keepcompleterecordasmaybeprescribedandanydeficiencyor

inaccuracyfoundthereinshallamounttocontraventionofthe

provisionsofSection5orSection6unlesscontraryisprovedby

thepersonconductingsuchultrasonography.Section5provides

forwrittenconsentofpregnantwomanandprohibitionof

communicatingthesexoffoetus,whereasSection6providesthat

determinationofsexisprohibited.Sections5andSection6are

extractedbelow:

“5.Writtenconsentofpregnantwomanandprohibitionof
communicatingthesexoffoetus.—

(1)Nopersonreferredtoinclause(2)ofsection3shallconduct
thepre­nataldiagnosticproceduresunless—
35

(a)hehasexplainedallknownsideandaftereffectsofsuch
procedurestothepregnantwomanconcerned;

(b)hehasobtainedintheprescribedformherwritten
consenttoundergosuchproceduresinthelanguagewhich
sheunderstands;and

(c)acopyofherwrittenconsentobtainedunderclause(b)
isgiventothepregnantwoman.

(2)Nopersonincludingthepersonconductingpre­natal
diagnosticproceduresshallcommunicatetothepregnantwoman
concernedorherrelativesoranyotherpersonthesexofthe
foetusbywords,signs,orinanyothermanner.

6.Determinationofsexprohibited.—Onandfromthe
commencementofthisAct,—

(a)noGeneticCounsellingCentreorGeneticLaboratoryor
GeneticClinicshallconductorcausetobeconductedinits
Centre,LaboratoryorClinic,pre­nataldiagnostictechniques
includingultrasonography,forthepurposeofdeterminingthe
sexofafoetus;

(b)nopersonshallconductorcausetobeconductedanypre­
nataldiagnostictechniquesincludingultrasonographyforthe
purposeofdeterminingthesexofafoetus.

(c)nopersonshall,bywhatevermeans,causeorallowtobe
causedselectionofsexbeforeorafterconception.”
(emphasissupplied)

41.Independently,specificprovisionshavebeenmadebarring

useoftechnologyi.e.,pre­nataldiagnostictechniquesfor

determinationofsexoffoetusunderSection6oftheAct.The

useoftechnologycanonlybeforthepurposesasprovidedin

Section4(2)andwiththepre­conditionsasprovidedinSection

4(3).

42.Asasafeguardtoarbitraryuseofpowersbyconcerned

authoritiestheconstitutionofStateSupervisoryBoardand
36

UnionTerritorySupervisoryBoardisprovidedinSection16A,

whichisalargebodyconsistingofvariousrepresentatives.It

hastocreatepublicawareness,reviewtheactivitiesofthe

AppropriateAuthoritiesandtomonitortheimplementationofthe

provisionsoftheActandtosendtheperiodicalreport.Relevant

portionofSection16AoftheActreadsthus:

“16A.ConstitutionofStateSupervisoryBoardandUnion
territorySupervisoryBoard.—

(1)EachStateandUnionterritoryhavingLegislatureshall
constituteaBoardtobeknownastheStateSupervisoryBoard
ortheUnionterritorySupervisoryBoard,asthecasemaybe,
whichshallhavethefollowingfunctions:—

(i)tocreatepublicawarenessagainstthepracticeofpre­
conceptionsexselectionandpre­nataldeterminationofsex
offoetusleadingtofemalefoeticideintheState;

(ii)toreviewtheactivitiesoftheAppropriateAuthorities
functioningintheStateandrecommendappropriateaction
againstthem;

(iii)tomonitortheimplementationofprovisionsoftheAct
andtherulesandmakesuitablerecommendationsrelating
thereto,totheBoard;

(iv)tosendsuchconsolidatedreportsasmaybeprescribed
inrespectofthevariousactivitiesundertakenintheState
undertheActtotheBoardandtheCentralGovernment;
and

(v)anyotherfunctionsasmaybeprescribedundertheAct.

(2)TheStateBoardshallconsistof,—

(a)theMinisterinchargeofHealthandFamilyWelfarein
theState,whoshallbetheChairperson,ex­officio;

(b)SecretaryinchargeoftheDepartmentofHealthand
FamilyWelfarewhoshallbetheVice­Chairperson,ex­
officio;

(c)SecretariesorCommissionersinchargeofDepartments
ofWomenandChildDevelopment,SocialWelfare,Lawand
IndianSystemofMedicinesandHomoeopathy,ex­officio,or
theirrepresentatives;

(d)DirectorofHealthandFamilyWelfareorIndianSystem
ofMedicinesandHomoeopathyoftheStateGovernment,
ex­officio;

(e)threewomenmembersofLegislativeAssemblyor
LegislativeCouncil;

37

(f)tenmemberstobeappointedbytheStateGovernment
outofwhichtwoeachshallbefromthefollowingcategories:

(i)eminentsocialscientistsandlegalexperts;

(ii)eminentwomenactivistsfromnon­governmental
organizationsorotherwise;

(iii)eminentgynaecologistsandobstetriciansor
expertsofstri­rogaorprasuti­tantra;

(iv)eminentpaediatriciansormedicalgeneticists;

(v)eminentradiologistsorsonologists;

(g)anofficernotbelowtherankofJointDirectorincharge
ofFamilyWelfare,whoshallbetheMemberSecretary,
ex­officio.

(3)TheStateBoardshallmeetatleastonceinfourmonths.”

43.TheconstitutionofAppropriateAuthorityandAdvisory

CommitteeisprovidedinSection17.Itconsistsofanofficerof

orabovetherankoftheJointDirectorofHealthandFamily

WelfareasChairperson,aneminentwomanrepresenting

women’sorganizationandanofficerofLawDepartmentofthe

StateortheUnionTerritoryasmembersasthecasemaybe.The

functionsoftheAppropriateAuthorityareprescribedinSection

17(4).ItempowerstheAppropriateAuthoritytogrant,suspend

orcanceltheregistration,enforcestandards,investigate

complaintsandtodootheractsasprovidedtherein.

ConstitutionofAdvisoryCommitteeisalsoprovidedunder

Section17(6),toaidandadvisetheAppropriateAuthority,

consistingofthreemedicalexpertsfromamongstgynaecologists,

obstetricians,paediatriciansandmedicalgeneticists,onelegal

expert,anofficerasprovidedthereunder,andthreeeminent
38

socialworkers.Nopersonwhohasbeenassociatedwiththeuse

orpromotionofpre­nataldiagnostictechniquesfordetermination

ofsexorsexselectioncanbememberoftheAdvisoryCommittee.

Section17isextractedhereunder:

“17.AppropriateAuthorityandAdvisoryCommittee.—
(1)TheCentralGovernmentshallappoint,bynotificationinthe
OfficialGazette,oneormoreAppropriateAuthoritiesforeachof
theUnionterritoriesforthepurposesofthisAct.

(2)TheStateGovernmentshallappoint,bynotificationinthe
OfficialGazette,oneormoreAppropriateAuthoritiesforthe
wholeorpartoftheStateforthepurposesofthisActhaving
regardtotheintensityoftheproblemofpre­natalsex
determinationleadingtofemalefoeticide.

(3)TheofficersappointedasAppropriateAuthoritiesundersub­
section(1)orsub­section(2)shallbe,—

(a)whenappointedforthewholeoftheStateortheUnion
territory,consistingofthefollowingthreemembers:—

(i)anofficeroforabovetherankoftheJointDirector
ofHealthandFamilyWelfare—Chairperson;

(ii)aneminentwomanrepresentingwomen’s
organization;and

(iii)anofficerofLawDepartmentoftheStateorthe
Unionterritoryconcerned:

ProvidedthatitshallbethedutyoftheStateortheUnion
territoryconcernedtoconstitutemulti­memberStateor
UnionterritorylevelAppropriateAuthoritywithinthree
monthsofthecomingintoforceofthePre­natalDiagnostic
Techniques(RegulationandPreventionofMisuse)
AmendmentAct,2002:

Providedfurtherthatanyvacancyoccurringthereinshallbe
filledwithinthreemonthsoftheoccurrence.

(b)whenappointedforanypartoftheStateortheUnion
territory,ofsuchotherrankastheStateGovernmentorthe
CentralGovernment,asthecasemaybe,maydeemfit.

(4)TheAppropriateAuthorityshallhavethefollowingfunctions,
namely:—

(a)togrant,suspendorcancelregistrationofaGenetic
CounsellingCentre,GeneticLaboratoryorGeneticClinic;

(b)toenforcestandardsprescribedfortheGenetic
CounsellingCentre,GeneticLaboratoryandGeneticClinic;

39

(c)toinvestigatecomplaintsofbreachoftheprovisionsof
thisActortherulesmadethereunderandtakeimmediate
action;

(d)toseekandconsidertheadviceoftheAdvisory
Committee,constitutedundersub­section(5),on
applicationforregistrationandoncomplaintsfor
suspensionorcancellationofregistration;

(e)totakeappropriatelegalactionagainsttheuseofany
sexselectiontechniquebyanypersonatanyplace,suo
motuorbroughttoitsnoticeandalsotoinitiate
independentinvestigationsinsuchmatter;

(f)tocreatepublicawarenessagainstthepracticeofsex
selectionorpre­nataldeterminationofsex;

(g)tosupervisetheimplementationoftheprovisionsofthe
Actandrules;

(h)torecommendtotheBoardandStateBoards
modificationsrequiredintherulesinaccordancewith
changesintechnologyorsocialconditions;

(i)totakeactionontherecommendationsoftheAdvisory
Committeemadeafterinvestigationofcomplaintfor
suspensionorcancellationofregistration.

(5)TheCentralGovernmentortheStateGovernment,asthecase
maybe,shallconstituteanAdvisoryCommitteeforeach
AppropriateAuthoritytoaidandadvisetheAppropriate
Authorityinthedischargeofitsfunctions,andshallappointone
ofthemembersoftheAdvisoryCommitteetobeitsChairman.

(6)TheAdvisoryCommitteeshallconsistof—

(a)threemedicalexpertsfromamongstgynaecologists,
obstericians,paediatriciansandmedicalgeneticists;

(b)onelegalexpert;

(c)oneofficertorepresentthedepartmentdealingwith
informationandpublicityoftheStateGovernmentorthe
Unionterritory,asthecasemaybe;

(d)threeeminentsocialworkersofwhomnotlessthanone
shallbefromamongstrepresentativesofwomen’s
organisations.

(7)Nopersonwhohasbeenassociatedwiththeuseorpromotion
ofpre­nataldiagnostictechniquesfordeterminationofsexorsex
selectionshallbeappointedasamemberoftheAdvisory
Committee.

(8)TheAdvisoryCommitteemaymeetasandwhenitthinksfitor
ontherequestoftheAppropriateAuthorityforconsiderationof
anyapplicationforregistrationoranycomplaintforsuspension
orcancellationofregistrationandtogiveadvicethereon:

Providedthattheperiodinterveningbetweenanytwo
meetingsshallnotexceedtheprescribedperiod.

(9)Thetermsandconditionssubjecttowhichapersonmaybe
appointedtotheAdvisoryCommitteeandtheproceduretobe
40

followedbysuchCommitteeinthedischargeofitsfunctions
shallbesuchasmaybeprescribed.”

44.Section17AempowersAppropriateAuthoritytosummon

anypersonwhoisinpossessionofanyinformationrelatingto

violationoftheprovisionsoftheActandproductionof

documents,issuesearchwarrantetc.Itismandatorythatsuch

GeneticCounsellingCentres,LaboratoriesorClinicsshouldbe

registeredunderSection18oftheAct.

45.Section20dealswithcancellationorsuspensionof

registration.AnactioncanbetakenasprovidedunderSection

20(2)aftergivingreasonableopportunityofbeingheard.Incase

thereisbreachofprovisionsoftheActortheRules,andthe

sameiswithoutprejudicetoanycriminalactionthatitmaytake

againstsuchCentres,LaboratoryorClinic,theAppropriate

Authorityinpublicinterestforreasonstoberecordedinwriting,

cansuspendtheregistrationofanyGeneticCounsellingCentres,

LaboratoriesorClinicsunderSection20(3)oftheActwithout

issuinganynoticereferredtoinsub­section(1)ofSection20.

Theprovisionsofappealagainsttheorderofsuspensionor

cancellationofregistrationpassedbyAppropriateAuthorityhas
41

beenprovidedinSection21.Sections20andSection21areextracted

hereunder:

“20.Cancellationorsuspensionofregistration.—(1).The
AppropriateAuthoritymaysuomoto,oroncomplaint,issuea
noticetotheGeneticCounsellingCentre,GeneticLaboratoryor
GeneticClinictoshowcausewhyitsregistrationshouldnotbe
suspendedorcancelledforthereasonsmentionedinthenotice.

(2)If,aftergivingareasonableopportunityofbeingheardtothe
GeneticCounsellingCentre,GeneticLaboratoryorGeneticClinic
andhavingregardtotheadviceoftheAdvisoryCommittee,the
AppropriateAuthorityissatisfiedthattherehasbeenabreachof
theprovisionsofthisActortherules,itmay,withoutprejudice
toanycriminalactionthatitmaytakeagainstsuchCentre,
LaboratoryorClinic,suspenditsregistrationforsuchperiodasit
maythinkfitorcancelitsregistration,asthecasemaybe.

(3)Notwithstandinganythingcontainedinsub­sections(1)and
(2),iftheAppropriateAuthorityisoftheopinionthatitis
necessaryorexpedientsotodointhepublicinterest,itmay,for
reasonstoberecordedinwriting,suspendtheregistrationofany
GeneticCounsellingCentre,GeneticLaboratoryorGeneticClinic
withoutissuinganysuchnoticereferredtoinsub­section(1).

21.Appeal.—TheGeneticCounsellingCentre,Genetic
LaboratoryorGeneticClinicmay,withinthirtydaysfromthe
dateofreceiptoftheorderofsuspensionorcancellationof
registrationpassedbytheAppropriateAuthorityundersection
20,preferanappealagainstsuchorderto—

(i)theCentralGovernment,wheretheappealisagainstthe
orderoftheCentralAppropriateAuthority;and

(ii)theStateGovernment,wheretheappealisagainstthe
orderoftheStateAppropriateAuthority,

intheprescribedmanner.”

(emphasissupplied)

46.Section22dealswithprohibitionofadvertisementrelating

topre­conceptionandpre­nataldeterminationofsexand

punishmentforcontravention.

42

47.Section23dealswithoffencesandpenalties.Section23(1)

providesforcontraventionofanyprovisionsoftheActorRules

madethereunder,punishmentwithimprisonmentforaterm

whichmayextendtothreeyearsandwithfinewhichmayextend

totenthousandrupees.Section23(2)containsprovisionwith

respecttoreportingofnameoftheregisteredmedicalpractitioner

bytheAppropriateAuthoritytotheStateMedicalCouncil

concernedforpassingappropriateorderincludingsuspensionof

theregistration,ifthechargesareframedbytheCourtandtill

thecaseisdisposedofandonconvictionforremovalofhisname

fromtheregisteroftheCouncilforaperiodoffiveyearsforthe

firstoffenceandpermanentlyforthesubsequentoffence.Any

personwhoseekaidofanyGeneticCounsellingCentre,

Laboratory,Clinicorultrasoundclinicorimagingclinicetc.for

sexselection,shallbepunishablewithimprisonmentwhichmay

extendtothreeyearsandwithfinewhichmayextendtofifty

thousandrupeesforthefirstoffenceandforanysubsequent

offencewithimprisonmentwhichmayextendtofiveyearsand

withfinewhichmayextendtoonelakhrupees.Ifawomanis

compelledbyherhusbandoranyotherrelativetoundergopre­

nataldiagnostictechniqueforthepurposeofSection4(2),such
43

personshallbeliableforabetmentofoffenceunderSection23(3).

Sections23andSection24areextractedhereunder:

“23.Offencesandpenalties.—(1)Anymedicalgeneticist,
gynaecologist,registeredmedicalpractitioneroranypersonwho
ownsaGeneticCounsellingCentre,aGeneticLaboratoryora
GeneticClinicorisemployedinsuchaCentre,Laboratoryor
Clinicandrendershisprofessionalortechnicalservicestoorat
suchaCentre,LaboratoryorClinic,whetheronanhonorary
basisorotherwise,andwhocontravenesanyoftheprovisionsof
thisActorrulesmadethereundershallbepunishablewith
imprisonmentforatermwhichmayextendtothreeyearsand
withfinewhichmayextendtotenthousandrupeesandonany
subsequentconviction,withimprisonmentwhichmayextendto
fiveyearsandwithfinewhichmayextendtofiftythousand
rupees.

(2)Thenameoftheregisteredmedicalpractitionershallbe
reportedbytheAppropriateAuthoritytotheStateMedical
Councilconcernedfortakingnecessaryactionincluding
suspensionoftheregistrationifthechargesareframedbythe
courtandtillthecaseisdisposedofandonconvictionfor
removalofhisnamefromtheregisteroftheCouncilforaperiod
offiveyearsforthefirstoffenceandpermanentlyforthe
subsequentoffence.

(3)AnypersonwhoseekstheaidofanyGeneticCounselling
Centre,GeneticLaboratory,GeneticClinicorultrasoundclinicor
imagingclinicorofamedicalgeneticist,gynaecologist,sonologist
orimagingspecialistorregisteredmedicalpractitionerorany
otherpersonforsexselectionorforconductingpre­natal
diagnostictechniquesonanypregnantwomenforthepurposes
otherthanthosespecifiedinsub­section(2)ofsection4,heshall
bepunishablewithimprisonmentforatermwhichmayextendto
threeyearsandwithfinewhichmayextendtofiftythousand
rupeesforthefirstoffenceandforanysubsequentoffencewith
imprisonmentwhichmayextendtofiveyearsandwithfinewhich
mayextendtoonelakhrupees.

(4)Fortheremovalofdoubts,itisherebyprovided,thatthe
provisionsofsub­section(3)shallnotapplytothewomanwho
wascompelledtoundergosuchdiagnostictechniquesorsuch
selection.

24.Presumptioninthecaseofconductofpre­natal
diagnostictechniques.—Notwithstandinganythingcontainedin
theSectionIndianEvidenceAct,1872(1of1872),thecourtshall
presumeunlessthecontraryisprovedthatthepregnantwoman
wascompelledbyherhusbandoranyotherrelative,asthecase
maybe,toundergopre­nataldiagnostictechniqueforthe
purposesotherthanthosespecifiedinsub­section(2)ofSectionsection4
Section44

andsuchpersonshallbeliableforabetmentofoffenceunder
sub­section(3)ofSectionsection23andshallbepunishableforthe
offencespecifiedunderthatsection.”
(emphasissupplied)

48.Section25oftheActdealswiththepenaltyfor

contraventionoftheprovisionsoftheActorrulesforwhichno

specificpunishmentisprovided.Anycontraventionunderthis

Sectionshallbepunishablewithimprisonmentforatermwhich

mayextendtothreemonthsorwithfinewhichmayextendtoone

thousandrupeesorbothandincaseofcontinuingcontravention

withanadditionalfinewhichmayextendtofivehundredrupees

foreveryday.

49.Section27makesoffencetobecognizable,non­bailableand

non­compoundable.Section27isextractedhereunder:

“27.Offencetobecognizable,non­bailableandnon­
compoundable.­EveryoffenceunderthisActshallbecognizable,
non­bailableandnon­compoundable.”

50.Themodeoftakingcognizanceofoffenceisprovidedin

Section28onacomplaintmadebytheAppropriateAuthorityor

anyofficerauthorisedinthisbehalf;orbyapersonwhohas

givennoticeofnotlessthanfifteendaystotheAppropriate

Authorityoftheallegedoffenceandofhisintentiontomakea

complainttothecourt.TheMetropolitanMagistrateoraJudicial

Magistrateiscompetenttotryanyoffencepunishableunderthis
45

Act.MaintenanceofrecordsisprovidedinSection29andthat

hastobepreservedfortwoyears.Incaseanycriminalorother

proceedingsareinstitutedagainstanyGeneticCounselling

Centre,LaboratoryorClinic,therecordsshallbepreservedtill

thefinaldisposalofsuchproceedings.Section30empowers

AppropriateAuthoritytosearchandseizerecordsetc.Section31

providesforprotectionofactiontakeningoodfaith.

51.Section32empowerstheCentralGovernmenttomakerules

forcarryingouttheprovisionsoftheAct.Section33givespower

totheBoardtomakeregulationswiththeprevioussanctionof

theCentralGovernment.Rulesandregulationsarerequiredto

belaidbeforetheParliamentasprovidedinSection34.

52.Rule9oftheRulesprovidesformaintenanceand

preservationofrecords.Thesameisextractedhereunder:

9.Maintenanceandpreservationofrecords.—

(1)EveryGeneticCounsellingCentre,GeneticLaboratoryand
GeneticClinicincludingamobileGeneticClinic,Ultrasound
ClinicandImagingCentreshallmaintainaregistershowing,in
serialorder,thenamesandaddressesofthemenorwomengiven
geneticcounselling,subjectedtopre­nataldiagnosticprocedures
orpre­nataldiagnostictests,thenamesoftheirspouseorfather
andthedateonwhichtheyfirstreportedforsuchcounselling,
procedureortest.

(2)TherecordtobemaintainedbyeveryGeneticCounselling
Centre,inrespectofeachwomancounselledshallbeasspecified
inFormD.

46

(3)TherecordtobemaintainedbyeveryGeneticLaboratory,in
respectofeachmanorwomansubjectedtoanypre­natal
diagnosticprocedure/technique/test,shallbeasspecifiedin
FormE.

(4)TherecordtobemaintainedbyeveryGeneticClinicincluding
amobileGeneticClinic,inrespectofeachmanorwoman
subjectedtoanypre­nataldiagnosticprocedure/technique/test,
shallbeasspecifiedinFormF.

(5)TheAppropriateAuthorityshallmaintainapermanentrecord
ofapplicationsforgrantorrenewalofcertificateofregistrationas
specifiedinFormH.Lettersofintimationofeverychangeof
employee,place,addressandequipmentinstalledshallalsobe
preservedaspermanentrecords.

(6)Allcaserelated­records,formsofconsent,laboratoryresults,
microscopicpictures,sonographicplatesorslides,
recommendationsandlettersshallbepreservedbytheGenetic
CounsellingCentre,GeneticLaboratoryorGeneticClinic,
UltrasoundClinicorImagingCentreforaperiodoftwoyears
fromthedateofcompletionofcounselling,pre­nataldiagnostic
procedureorpre­nataldiagnostictest,asthecasemaybe.Inthe
eventofanylegalproceedings,therecordsshallbepreservedtill
thefinaldisposaloflegalproceedings,ortilltheexpiryofthesaid
periodoftwoyears,whicheverislater.

(7)IncasetheGeneticCounsellingCentreorGeneticLaboratory
orGeneticClinicorUltrasoundClinicorImagingCentre
maintainsrecordsoncomputerorotherelectronicequipment,a
printedcopyoftherecordshallbetakenandpreservedafter
authenticationbyapersonresponsibleforsuchrecord.

(8)EveryGeneticCounsellingCentre,GeneticLaboratory,
GeneticClinic,UltrasoundClinicandImagingCentreshallsend
acompletereportinrespectofallpre­conceptionorpregnancy
relatedprocedures/techniques/testsconductedbythemin
respectofeachmonthby5thdayofthefollowingmonthtothe
concernedAppropriateAuthority.”

Rule9makesitmandatorytomaintainaregistershowing

inserialorderthenamesandaddressesofthemenorwomen

givengeneticcounselling,subjectedtopre­nataldiagnostic

proceduresorpre­nataldiagnostictests,thenameoftheir

spouseorfatherandthedateonwhichtheyfirstreportedfor
47

suchcounselling.Rule9(2)statesthatrecordtobemaintained

uniformly.Rule9(4)providesthatrecordtobemaintainedby

everyGeneticClinicinrespectofeachmanorwomansubjected

toanypre­nataldiagnosticprocedure/technique/test,shallbe

specifiedinForm‘F’.Rule10dealswithconditionsfor

conductingpre­nataldiagnosticprocedures.Rule10(1A)

providesthatitismandatoryforeverypersonconducting

ultrasonographytodeclarethathe/shehasneitherdetectednor

disclosedthesexoffoetusofthepregnantwomantoanybody.

Thepregnantwomanshalldeclarebeforeundergoingthetest

thatshedoesnotwanttoknowthesexofherfoetus.Rule19

providesforanappealagainstthedecisionofAppropriate

Authority.Form‘F’,whichistheboneofcontentionofthe

learnedcounselfortheparties,isextractedhereunder:

“FORMF
FORMFORMAINTENANCEOFRECORDINRESPECTOF
PREGNANTWOMANBYGENETICCLINIC/ULTRASOUND
CLINIC/IMAGINGCENTRE

1.NameandaddressoftheGeneticClinic/Ultrasound
Clinic/ImagingCentre.

2.RegistrationNo.

3.Patient’snameandherage

4.Numberofchildrenwithsexofeachchild

5.Husband’s/Father’sname

6.FulladdresswithTel.No.,ifany

7.Referredby(fullnameandaddressofDoctor(s)/
GeneticCounsellingCentre(referralnotetobe
preservedcarefullywithcasepapers)/selfreferral

8.Lastmenstrualperiod/weeksofpregnancy

9.Historyofgenetic/medicaldiseaseinthefamily
(specify)
48

Basisofdiagnosis:

(a)Clinical

(b)Bio­chemical

(c)Cytogenetic

(d)Other(e.g.radiological,ultrasonographyetc.
specify)

10.Indicationforpre­nataldiagnosis
A.Previouschild/childrenwith:

(i)Chromosomaldisorders

(ii)Metabolicdisorders

(iii)Congenitalanomaly

(iv)Mentalretardation

(v)Haemoglobinopathy

(vi)Sexlinkeddisorders

(vii)Singlegenedisorder

(viii)Anyother(specify)
B.Advancedmaternalage(35years)
C.Mother/father/siblinghasgeneticdisease(specify)
D.Other(specify)

11.Procedurescarriedout(withnameandregistrationNo.
ofGynaecologist/Radiologist/RegisteredMedical
Practitioner)whoperformedit.

Non­Invasive

(i)Ultrasound(specifypurposeforwhich
ultrasoundistodoneduringpregnancy)
[Listofindicationsforultrasonographyofpregnant
womenaregiveninthenotebelow]
Invasive

(ii)Amniocentesis

(iii)ChorionicVilliaspiration

(iv)Foetalbiopsy

(v)Cordocentesis

(vi)Anyother(specify)

12.Anycomplicationofprocedure–pleasespecify

13.Laboratorytestsrecommended

(i)Chromosomalstudies

(ii)Biochemicalstudies

(iii)Molecularstudies

(iv)Preimplantationgeneticdiagnosis

14.Resultof

(a)pre­nataldiagnosticprocedure(givedetails)

(b)UltrasonographyNormal/Abnormal(specify
abnormalitydetected,ifany).

15.Date(s)onwhichprocedurescarriedout.

16.Dateonwhichconsentobtained.(Incaseofinvasive)

17.Theresultofpre­nataldiagnosticprocedurewere
conveyedto……….on……………

18.18.WasMTPadvised/conducted?

19.DateonwhichMTPcarriedout

Date……………..Name,SignatureandRegistrationnumber
Place……………..oftheGynaecologist/Radiologist/Directorof
theClinic
49

DECLARATIONOFPREGNANTWOMAN
I,Ms…………………..(nameofthepregnantwoman)declarethat
byundergoingultrasonography/imagescanningetc.Idonot
wanttoknowthesexofmyfoetus.

Signature/Thumpimpressionofpregnantwoman

DECLARATONOFDOCTOR/PERSONCONDUCTING
ULTRASONOGRAPHY/IMAGESCANNING
I,……………………(nameofthepersonconducting
ultrasonography/imagescanning)declarethatwhileconducting
ultrasonography/imagescanningonMs…………………..(nameof
thepregnantwoman),Ihaveneitherdetectednordisclosedthe
sexofherfoetustoanybodyinanymanner.

Nameandsignatureofthepersonconducting
ultrasonography/imagescanning/Directororownerof
geneticclinic/ultrasoundclinic/imagingcentre.

ImportantNotes:—

(i)Ultrasoundisnotindicated/advised/performedto
determinethesexoffoetusexceptfordiagnosisofsex­linked
diseasessuchasDuchenneMuscularDystrophy,HaemophiliaA
B,etc.

(ii)DuringpregnancyUltrasonographyshouldonlybe
performedwhenindicated.Thefollowingistherepresentativelist
ofindicationsforultrasoundduringpregnancy.

(1)Todiagnoseintra­uterineand/orectopicpregnancyand
confirmviability.

(2)Estimationofgestationalage(dating).
(3)Detectionofnumberoffoetusesandtheirchorionicity.
(4)SuspectedpregnancywithIUCDin­situorsuspected
pregnancyfollowingcontraceptivefailure/MTPfailure.
(5)Vaginalbleeding/leaking.

(6)Follow­upofcasesofabortion.

(7)Assessmentofcervicalcanalanddiameterofinternalos.
(8)Discrepancybetweenuterinesizeandperiodof
amenorrhoea.

(9)Anysuspectedadenexaloruterinepathology/
abnormality.

(10)Detectionofchromosomalabnormalities,foetal
structuraldefectsandotherabnormalitiesandtheirfollow­
up.

(11)Toevaluatefoetalpresentationandposition.
(12)Assessmentofliquoramnii.

(13)Pretermlabour/pretermprematureruptureof
membranes.

(14)Evaluationofplacentalposition,thickness,gradingand
abnormalities(placentapraevia,retroplacental
haemorrhage,abnormaladherenceetc.).

(15)Evaluationofumbilicalcord–presentation,insertion,
nuchalencirclement,numberofvesselsandpresenceof
trueknot.

50

(16)EvaluationofpreviousCaesareanSectionscars.
(17)Evaluationoffoetalgrowthparameters,foetalweight
andfoetalwellbeing.

(18)ColourflowmappingandduplexDopplerstudies.
(19)Ultrasoundguidedproceduressuchasmedical
terminationofpregnancy,externalcephalicversionetc.and
theirfollow­up.

(20)Adjuncttodiagnosticandtherapeuticinvasive
interventionssuchaschorionicvillussampling(CVS),
amniocenteses,foetalbloodsampling,foetalskinbiopsy,
amnioinfusion,intrauterineinfusion,placementofshunts
etc.

(21)Observationofintra­partumevents.

(22)Medical/surgicalconditionscomplicatingpregnancy.
(23)Research/scientificstudiesinrecognisedinstitutions.

Personconductingultrasonographyonapregnantwoman
shallkeepcompleterecordthereofintheclinic/centrein
FormFandanydeficiencyorinaccuracyfoundtherein
shallamounttocontraventionofprovisionsofSectionsection5or
Sectionsection6oftheAct,unlesscontraryisprovedbytheperson
conductingsuchultrasonography.”

53.SectionTheActandRulesarenottheonlyregulatoryframework

whichrequiresthemedicalfraternitytokeepproperrecord.The

medicalprofessionhashighlyspecialisednatureandconsidering

thenatureofservicesrenderedbymedicalprofessional,proper

maintenanceofrecordsisanintegralpartofthemedicalservices.

ItiscontendedonbehalfofMedicalCouncilofIndiathatthe

MedicalCouncilofIndia(MCI)underSection33oftheIndian

MedicalCouncilAct,1956hasframedtheIndianMedicalCouncil

(ProfessionalConduct,EtiquetteandEthics)Regulations,2002,

whichalsoplacedaburdenonphysicianstoobservethelawof

thecountry.BythesaidRegulations,itismandatoryforevery

doctortomaintaintherecordsofthepatientstreatedbyhim/her
51

andnon­maintainingofrecordsisamisconduct.MCIRegulation

1.3dealswithmaintenanceofmedicalrecords,whichreadsthus:

“1.3Maintenanceofmedicalrecords:

1.3.1Everyphysicianshallmaintainthemedicalrecords
pertainingtohis/herindoorpatientsforaperiodof3yearsfrom
thedateofcommencementofthetreatmentinastandard
proformalaiddownbytheMedicalCouncilofIndiaandattached
asAppendix3.

1.3.2.Ifanyrequestismadeformedicalrecordseitherbythe
patients/authorisedattendantorlegalauthoritiesinvolved,the
samemaybedulyacknowledgedanddocumentsshallbeissued
withintheperiodof72hours.

1.3.3ARegisteredmedicalpractitionershallmaintainaRegister
ofMedicalCertificatesgivingfulldetailsofcertificatesissued.
Whenissuingamedicalcertificatehe/sheshallalwaysenterthe
identificationmarksofthepatientandkeepacopyofthe
certificate.He/Sheshallnotomittorecordthesignatureand/or
thumbmark,addressandatleastoneidentificationmarkofthe
patientonthemedicalcertificatesorreport.Themedical
certificateshallbepreparedasinAppendix2.

1.3.4Effortsshallbemadetocomputerizemedicalrecordsfor
quickretrieval.”

(emphasissupplied)

54.Regulation7.1underChapter7dealswithmisconduct

committedbyadoctorbyviolatinganyprovisionsofthe

Regulations,whereasRegulation7.2providesthatthefailureto

maintainthemedicalrecordsofindoorpatientforaperiodof

threeyearsandrefusaltoprovidethemedicalrecordtoapatient

onrequestwithin72hoursisamisconduct.Regulation7.6

dealswithmisconductrelatingtosexdeterminationand
52

terminationofpregnancy.TherelevantportionofRegulation7is

reproducedhereunder:

“7.MISCONDUCT
Thefollowingactsofcommissionoromissiononthepartof
aphysicianshallconstituteprofessionalmisconductrendering
him/herliablefordisciplinaryaction.

7.1ViolationoftheRegulations:Ifhe/shecommitsany
violationoftheseRegulations.

7.2Ifhe/shedoesnotmaintainthemedicalrecordsofhis/her
indoorpatientsforaperiodofthreeyearsasperregulation1.3
andrefusestoprovidethesamewithin72hourswhenthe
patientorhis/herauthorisedrepresentativemakesarequestfor
itaspertheregulation1.3.2.

*********
7.6SexDeterminationTests:Onnoaccountsexdetermination
testshallbeundertakenwiththeintenttoterminatethelifeofa
femalefoetusdevelopinginhermother’swomb,unlessthereare
otherabsoluteindicationsforterminationofpregnancyas
specifiedintheSectionMedicalTerminationofPregnancyAct,1971.Any
actofterminationofpregnancyofnormalfemalefoetus
amountingtofemalefoeticideshallberegardedasprofessional
misconductonthepartofthephysicianleadingtopenalerasure
besidesrenderinghimliabletocriminalproceedingsasperthe
provisionsofthisAct.”

55.Regulation8oftheMCIRegulationdealswithpunishment

anddisciplinaryactionformisconductcommittedbyadoctor.

TherelevantportionofRegulation8readsthus:

“8.PUNISHMENTANDDISCIPLINARYACTION

8.1Itmustbeclearlyunderstoodthattheinstancesofoffences
andofProfessionalmisconductwhicharegivenabovedonot
constituteandarenotintendedtoconstituteacompletelistof
theinfamousactswhichcallsfordisciplinaryaction,andthatby
issuingthisnoticetheMedicalCouncilofIndiaandorState
MedicalCouncilsareinnowayprecludedfromconsideringand
dealingwithanyotherformofprofessionalmisconductonthe
partofaregisteredpractitioner.Circumstancesmayanddoarise
fromtimetotimeinrelationtowhichtheremayoccurquestions
ofprofessionalmisconductwhichdonotcomewithinanyof
thesecategories.Everycareshouldbetakenthatthecodeisnot
violatedinletterorspirit.Insuchinstancesasinallothers,the
53

MedicalCouncilofIndiaand/orStateMedicalCouncilshaveto
consideranddecideuponthefactsbroughtbeforetheMedical
CouncilofIndiaand/orStateMedicalCouncils.

8.2Itismadeclearthatanycomplaintwithregardto
professionalmisconductcanbebroughtbeforetheappropriate
MedicalCouncilforDisciplinaryaction.Uponreceiptofany
complaintofprofessionalmisconduct,theappropriateMedical
Councilwouldholdanenquiryandgiveopportunitytothe
registeredmedicalpractitionertobeheardinpersonorby
pleader.Ifthemedicalpractitionerisfoundtobeguiltyof
committingprofessionalmisconduct,theappropriateMedical
Councilmayawardsuchpunishmentasdeemednecessaryor
maydirecttheremovalaltogetherorforaspecifiedperiod,from
theregisterofthenameofthedelinquentregisteredpractitioner.
DeletionfromtheRegistershallbewidelypublicizedinlocal
pressaswellasinthepublicationsofdifferentMedical
Associations/Societies/Bodies.”

56.ItisfurtherpointedoutthatPharmacyPracticeRegulations,

2015alsorequirepharmaciststomaintainrecords.Therelevant

portionoftheRegulationsisextractedhereunder:

“6.2Maintenanceofpatientrecords.—

(a)Everyregisteredpharmacistshallmaintainthemedical/
prescriptionrecordspertainingtohis/herpatientsforaperiod
of5yearsfromthedateofcommencementofthetreatmentas
laiddownbythePharmacyCouncilofIndiainAppendixII.

(b)Ifanyrequestismadeformedicalrecordseitherbythe
patients/authorisedattendantorlegalauthoritiesinvolved,the
samemaybedulyacknowledgedanddocumentsshallbeissued
withintheperiodof72hours.

(c)Effortsshallbemadetocomputerizemedical/prescription
recordsforquickretrieval.”

57.Referencehasalsobeenmadetotheprovisionsofthe

TransplantationofHumanOrgansandTissuesAct,1994and

Rules,whichcontainprovisionsthataresimilartotheAct.

Section20oftheTransplantationofHumanOrgansandTissues

Act,1994,readsthus:

54

“20.Punishmentforcontraventionofanyotherprovisionof
thisAct.—WhoevercontravenesanyprovisionofthisActorany
rulemade,oranyconditionoftheregistrationgranted,
thereunderforwhichnopunishmentisseparatelyprovidedin
thisAct,shallbepunishablewithimprisonmentforatermwhich
mayextendtofiveyearsorwithfinewhichmayextendtotwenty
lakhrupees.”

58.ReferencehasalsobeenmadetotheSectionMedicalTerminationof

PregnancyAct,1971,whichalsoplacesanobligationonmedical

professionaltomaintainproperrecords.

59.WhenwescrutinisetheForm‘F’withtheprovisionsofthe

Act/Rulesandtherecannotbeanydisputewithrespecttoserial

Nos.1and2whereinnameandaddressofGeneticLaboratory

anditsregistrationnumberisrequiredtobementionedinthe

FormasitisnecessarytohavearegistrationunderSection18of

theAct.Itcannotbesaidtobeaclericalrequirement.Patient

nameandherageatserialNo.3isalsoabsolutelynecessaryso

astoidentifyapersonwhoisundergoingthetestandbeforethe

ageof35years,itcannotbeconductedasprovidedunder

Section4(3)(i).Thesameisasperthemandatoryrequirementof

Section4.Husband’s/father’snameisalsonecessaryasperthe

statutorymandateforthepurposeofidentificationofpatient.

Fulladdressisalsomandatorysoastoascertaintheidentitywho

isundergoingsuchtest.Incasetheseinformationarekept
55

vague,theviolationoftheActwouldbeblatantandunchecked

andoffencecanneverbedetected.InformationatserialNo.8of

theForm‘F’requireslastmenstrualperiod/weeksofpregnancy

tobementioned,sameisalsonecessarytobementionedasit

hasco­relationwiththeinvestigationsandprovisionsoftheAct

andtherulesframedthereunder.ThecolumninFormatserial

No.9requireshistoryofgenetic/medicaldiseaseinthefamilyto

bespecifiedwhichisasperthemandateofSection4(3)(iv)ofthe

Act.Form‘F’atserialNo.10requiresindicationforpre­natal

diagnosiswhichismandatoryaspertheprovisionscontainedin

Section4(2)asexceptforthepurposesasmentionedinSections

4(2)andSection4(3)nosuchtests/procedurescanbeperformed.Thus,

whatismandatedbytheSectionsandinRule9hasbeen

mentionedintheForm‘F’.Procedurecarriedwhetherinvasiveor

non­invasivehastobeobviouslymentionedandincaseany

laboratorytestshavebeenrecommendedthatistobementioned

alongwiththeresult.ThenoteattachedtoForm‘F’alsocontains

therepresentativelistofindicationswhenultrasoundduring

pregnancycanbeperformed.Thus,thoughthesubmissionthat

Form‘F’isclericalrequirementurgedbylearnedcounsel

appearingforthepetitioner­Societyappearsatthefirstblushto
56

beworthyexamination,butonclosescrutinyitisfoundthatin

caseanyinformationintheFormisavoided,itwillresultinthe

blatantviolationoftheprovisionsofSection4andmayleadto

resultwhichisprohibitedunderSection6.Itcannotbe

saidtobeacaseofclericalerrorasdoctorhastofulfilpre­

requisitesforundertakingtheprocedureincasetheconditions

precedentforundertakingpre­nataldiagnostictestisnot

specificallymentioned,itwouldbeviolativeofprovisions

containedinSection4.TheForm‘F’hastobepreparedand

signedbyeitherGynaecologist/MedicalGeneticist/Radiologist/

Paediatrician/DirectoroftheClinic/Centre/Laboratory.Incase

theindicationsandtheinformationarenotfurnishedasprovided

intheForm‘F’itwouldamountthatconditionprecedentto

undertakethetest/procedureisabsent.Thereisnoother

barometerexceptForm‘F’tofindoutwhythediagnostic

test/procedurewasperformed.Incasesuchanimportant

informationbesideothersiskeptvagueormissingfromthe

Form,itwoulddefeattheverypurposeoftheActandthe

safeguardsprovidedthereunderanditwouldbecomeimpossible

tocheckviolationofprovisionsoftheAct.Itisnottheclerical

jobtofilltheform,itisconditionprecedentforundertaking
57

test/procedure.Withalldueregardstothesubmissionadvanced

onbehalfofpetitioner­Societythatitisaclericaljob,iswholly

withoutsubstancebutitisaresponsiblejobofthepersonwhois

undertakingsuchatesti.e.,theGynaecologist/Medical

Geneticist/Radiologist/Paediatrician/Directorofthe

Clinic/Centre/Laboratorytofilltherequisiteinformation.In

casehekeepsitvague,heknowsfullywellthatheisviolatingthe

provisionsoftheActandundertakingthetestwithoutexistence

oftheconditionsprecedentwhicharemandatorytoexisthe

cannotundertaketest/procedurewithoutfillingsuchinformation

intheform.Thereisnootherwaytoensurethattestis

undertakenonfulfilmentoftheprescribedconditions.Thereis

nothingelsebuttherecordwhichrequiredtobemaintainedand

onthebasisofwhichcounter­checkcanbemade.Thereisno

otherbarometerorcriteriatofindouttheviolationofthe

provisionsoftheAct.Rule9(4)alsorequiresthateveryGenetic

ClinictofillForm‘F’whereininformationwithregardtodetailsof

thepatient,referralnoteswithindicationandcasepapersofthe

patientarerequiredtobefilledandpreserved.Form‘F’lays

downtheindicativelistforconductingultrasonographyduring

pregnancy.Form‘F’beingtechnicalinnaturegivestheinsight
58

intothereasonsforconductingultrasonographyandincomplete

Form‘F’raisesthepresumptionofdoubtagainstthemedical

practitioner.IntheabsenceofForm‘F’,AppropriateAuthorities

willhavenotooltosupervisetheusageofultrasoundmachine

andshallnotbeabletoregulatetheuseofthetechniquewhich

istheobjectoftheAct.

60.Itisrightlycontendedonbehalfofrespondentsthatthere

aredifferentformsforrecordkeepingprescribedundertheAct

andtheRulestheyareimportantandinterlinked,operatein

tandemwithoneanother.Theserecordshavetobemaintained

onlywhentheprocedureortestsareconductedonpregnant

womanorwhenpatientmayhavebeenadvisedtousepre­

conceptiondiagnostictoolstoconceiveachild.Itisrequiredfor

GeneticCounsellingCentreadvisingtheprocedure/testwitha

potentialofdetectingordeterminingthesexofthefoetusand

referringapersontoaGeneticClinic/Imaging

Centre/UltrasoundClinictorecordthedetailsofGeneticClinic

towhichpatientisreferredatpoint15oftheForm‘D’alongwith

thedetailsofthediagnosisandrelevantmedicaldetailsofthe

person.Accordingly,GeneticClinic/ImagingCentre/Ultrasound

Clinicconductingtheaforesaidreferredprocedurehastorecord
59

thenameandaddressofGeneticCounsellingCentrewiththe

referralslipalongwiththerelevantmedicalrecordoftheperson

onwhomprocedure/test/techniqueisconducted.Theaforesaid

recordkeepingprocedureshallbefollowedbyGenetic

Laboratoriesalso.TheschemeoftheActmakesitevidentthat

recordkeepingismeanttotrack/monitorandregulatetheuseof

technologythathaspotentialofsexselectionandsex

determination.Section23isnotstand­aloneSection.Itisrather

usedintheenforcementofotherprovisionsoftheActand

violationsofSection23areoftenaccompaniedbyviolationsof

provisionsofSections4,Section5,Section6andSection18oftheAct.Itissubmitted

thatnon­maintenanceofrecordinthecontextofsex

determinationisnotmerelyatechnicalorprocedurallapse.Itis

mostsignificantpieceofevidenceforidentifyingoffenceandthe

accused.Theinspectionofrecordsiscrucialtoidentify

wrong­doersasthecrimeofsexdeterminationbeingacollusive

crimegiventhenexusbetweenthepatientsandthedoctors.

Accordingly,punishmentisprovidedinSection23fornot

maintainingtherecords.

61.Ms.PinkiAnand,learnedAdditionalSolicitorGeneralhas

relieduponacasestudyonrecordkeepingasanimplementation
60

toolofPrabhakarHospitalinPanipat.InthiscaseHospitalhad

notsentthereportofIVFdoneatitsCentretotheAppropriate

Authoritydespitemeetingheldon10.10.2013andsubsequent

reminders.Afterthirteenthreminderdated27.11.2014,ashow

causenoticewasissuedtotheHospitalon2.2.2015.The

aforesaidcasestudyreadsthus:

“InthecaseofthisHospitalthereportofIVFdoneatthecentre
wasnotsenttotheAppropriateAuthoritydespitemeetingsheld
on10.10.2013andreminderssenton6.3.2014,14.3.2014,
20.3.2014,21.3.2014,25.3.2014,28.3.2014,31.3.2014and
finallywithathirteenthreminderon27.11.2014.

Duringinspectionfollowingdiscrepancieswerefound­

a.Informno.9338,In­vitroFertilization(IVF)wasdoneon
patientwith2femalechildrenwithrepeatedhistoryof
4abortions.

b.Informno.9700,womanwith8femalechildrenreceived
IVF.

c.Informno.10385,patientSantoshwith7femalechildren
receivedIVFbutdidnotfillthesectionCinF­Form.
SectionCinformFpertainstotherecordsoftheinvasive
procedureswhichrequiresrecordsofalldiagnostic
proceduresdoneonmenandwomenwhichhaspotential
ofsexdetermination/selectiontoberecorded.
d.Formno.10389,womanwith3femalechildrenreceived
IVF,formFSectionCnotfilledin.

e.Formno.9338,womanhad2femalechildrenand6
abortions,andreceivedIVF.

f.Formno.9700,awomanwith8femalechildrenreceived
IVF.

Thehospitalwasaskedwhypatientswhohadfemalechildren
underwentIVFasevidentfromtherecords.Inseveralofthe
casesitisinexplicablewhythesamplesweresenttoDelhiand
Bombay.InmanyFformsmanyfemalepatientswithwrong
phonenumberswerementioned.SimilarlyinotherFormF,
patientswithwrongidentityproofs,addressproofandnoidentity
proofswerefound.InanothersetofformFwrongObstetricand
Abortionhistorywasmentionedasconfirmedfromthepatients.
DifferencehistoryonreferralslipandFormFwasobserved.
Signatureofpatientwasfoundtobemissingintheconsentform
inmanyforms.TheSignatureofthewitnessDoctor/Counsellor
wasmissinginallconsentformsofIVFpatients.Accordinglya
complainthasbeenfiledinthecourt.”
61

(emphasissupplied)

62.Itissubmittedthattherecordkeepingprovideinformation

onindividualpatientswhocouldhavepotentiallyundergonesex

selection/determinationtechniques,whichisanoffenceunder

thisAct.Ifrecordkeepingisdilutedorexemptedfromthe

mandatoryrequirementoftheAct,theprobableinvolvementin

sexdeterminationandsexselectionintheguiseofuseof

diagnostictechniqueswouldcontinueunbated.

63.Thewayinwhichthenon­maintenanceofrecordcanbe

usedforviolatingtheprovisionsoftheAct,isapparentfromthe

aforesaidexample.Theaforesaidfactshavebeenmentionedin

theshowcausenoticethathadbeenissued.InmanyForm‘F’

femalepatientswithwrongphonenumberswerementioned.In

otherForm‘F’patientswithwrongidentity,proofofaddressand

noidentityproofwerefound.InanothersetofForm‘F’wrong

obstetricandabortionhistorywasmentioned.Signatureof

patientwasalsofoundmissingintheconsentforms.Thus,the

non­fillingofinformationcannotbetermedtobeclericalerror,

butincaseitiskeptvaguethatitselffacilitatesanoffence.It

woulddefinitelyablatantandintentionalviolationofthe

provisionsoftheActinordertopreventthemischiefwhichis
62

intendedtobymaintenanceofrecord,fillingupdetailsofthe

formsismandatedbySections4andSection5.Thewholesomesocial

legislationwouldbedefeatedincaseFormisnotfilledwhichis

sinequanontotoundertaketests/proceduresifsuchcondition

doesnotexist,nosuchprocedurecanbeperformedanddiluting

theprovisionswouldbeagainstthegenderjustice.Itisinorder

tocreatetheequalitythattheprovisionshavebeenenactednot

thatunequalsarebeingtreatedequally.Thenon­maintenanceof

form/notreflectingcorrectmedicalconditionisoffence,not

mentioningitwouldalsobeanoffenceorkeepingitvague.

64.Itwaspointedonbehalfofpetitioner­Societybyfiling

certainaffidavitsofthemedicalpractitionersraisinggrievances

withregardtothecriminalcasesfiledagainstthembythe

AppropriateAuthorityoncertaingrounds.Acquittalshavealso

beenrecorded,buttheyarenotattributabletothedeficiencyin

theAct.Theprovisionofthelawcannotbestruckdownonthe

groundofallegationofsuchexerciseofpowerinarbitrary

manner,especiallywhen0.46milliongirlswerestatedtobe

missingatbirthasaresultofsexselectiveabortions.
63

65.SectionInVoluntaryHealthAssociationofPunjabv.UnionofIndia,

(2016)10SCC265,thisCourtobservedasunder:

“46.Now,weshalladverttotheprayersinWritPetition(Civil)
No.575of2014.ThewritpetitionhasbeenfiledbyIndian
MedicalAssociation(IMA).ItiscontendedthatSections3­A,4,5,
6,7,16,17,20,23,25,27and30oftheActandRules9(4),10
Form”F”(includingfoot­note),whichbeingthesubjectmatter
ofconcernintheinstantwritpetition,arebeingmisusedand
wronglyinterpretedbytheauthoritiesconcernedtherebycausing
undueharassmenttothemedicalprofessionalsalloverthe
countryundertheguiseofthe’so­calledimplementation’.Itis
alsourgedthat,implementationofstepsandscrutinyofrecords
wasstartedatlargescalealloverthecountryandlotof
anomalieswerefoundinrecordsmaintainedbydoctors
throughoutthecountry.Itishoweverpertinenttomentionhere
thatthemajorityofthedefaultswereoftechnicalnatureasthey
weremerelyminorandclericalerrorscommittedoccasionallyand
inadvertentlyinthefilingofForm”F”.Itisalsoputforththatthe
Actdoesnotclassifytheoffencesandowingtotheliberaland
vagueterminologyusedintheAct,itisthrownopenformisuse
bytheimplementingauthoritiesconcernedandhasresultedinto
takingofcognizanceofnon­bailable(punishablebythreeyears)
offencesagainstdoctorseveninthecasesofclericalerrors,for
instancenon­mentioningofN.A.(NotApplicable)orleavingofany
columnintheForm”F”concernedasblank.Itisfurther
submittedthatthesaidunfetteredpowersinthehandsof
implementingauthorityhaveresultedintoturningofthiswelfare
legislationintoadraconiannovelwayofencouragingdemands
forbriberyaswellasthereisnopriorindependentinvestigation
asmandatedUnderSection17oftheActbytheseAuthorities.It
isalsosetforththattheActstatesmerelythatanycontravention
withanyoftheprovisionsoftheActwouldbeanoffence
punishableUnderSection23(1)ofthesaidActandfurtherall
offencesundertheActhavebeenmadenon­bailableandnon­
compoundableandthemisuseofthesamecanonlybetaken
careofbyensuringthattheAppropriateAuthorityappliesits
mindtothefactofeachcase/complaintandonlyonsatisfaction
ofaprimafaciecase,acomplaintbefiledratherthanlaunching
prosecutionmechanicallyineachcase.Withtheseaverments,it
hasbeenprayedforframingappropriateguidelinesand
safeguardparameters,providingforclassificationofoffencesas
well,soastoprohibitthemisuseofthePCPNDTActduring
implementationandtoreaddownthisSections6,23,27ofthe
PCPNDTAct.Thatapart,ithasbeenprayedtoaddcertain
provisos/exceptionstoSections7,Section17,Section23andRule9ofthe
Rules.

64

47.Inourconsideredopinion,wheneverthereisanabuseofthe
processofthelaw,theindividualcanalwaysavailthelegal
remedy.Aswefind,neitherthevalidityoftheActnortheRules
hasbeenspecificallyassailedinthewritpetition.Whathasbeen
prayedistoreadoutcertainprovisionsandtoaddcertain
exceptions.Weareoftheconvincedviewthattheavermentsof
thepresentnaturewithsuchprayerscannotbeentertainedand,
accordingly,wedeclinetointerfere.”

(emphasissupplied)

66.TheemphasisofthisCourtisonthepropermaintenanceof

records.InCentreforEnquiryintoSectionHealthandAlliedThemes

(CEHAT)v.UnionofIndia,(2001)5SCC577,thisCourtobserved

thus:

“3.Itisapparentthattoalargeextent,thePNDTActisnot
implementedbytheCentralGovernmentorbytheState
Governments.Hence,thepetitionersarerequiredtoapproach
thisCourtunderSectionArticle32oftheConstitutionofIndia……Prima
facieitappearsthatdespitethePNDTActbeingenactedby
Parliamentfiveyearsback,neithertheStateGovernmentsnor
theCentralGovernmenthastakenappropriateactionforits
implementation.Hence,afterconsideringtherespective
submissionsmadeatthetimeofhearingofthismatter,as
suggestedbythelearnedAttorney­GeneralforIndia,MrSoliJ.
Sorabjee,thefollowingdirectionsareissuedonthebasisof
variousprovisionsfortheproperimplementationofthePNDT
Act:

II.DirectionstotheCentralSupervisoryBoard(CSB)

1.***

2.***

3.CSBshallissuedirectionstoallState/UTappropriate
authoritiestofurnishquarterlyreturnstoCSBgivingareporton
theimplementationandworkingoftheAct.Thesereturnsshould
interaliacontainspecificinformationabout:

(i)surveyofbodiesspecifiedinSection3oftheAct;

(ii)registrationofbodiesspecifiedinSection3oftheAct;

(iii)actiontakenagainstnon­registeredbodiesoperatingin
violationofSection3oftheAct,inclusiveofsearchandseizureof
records;

65

(iv)complaintsreceivedbytheappropriateauthoritiesunderthe
Actandactiontakenpursuantthereto;

(v)numberandnatureofawarenesscampaignsconductedand
resultsflowingtherefrom.….”

67.SectionInVoluntaryHealthAssociationofPunjabv.UnionofIndia,

(2013)4SCC1,theCourtdealtwiththeissueofmaintenanceof

recordandissuedthefollowingdirections:

“9.4.Theauthoritiesshouldensurealsothatallgenetic
counsellingcentres,geneticlaboratoriesandgeneticclinics,
infertilityclinics,scancentresetc.usingpreconceptionandpre­
nataldiagnostictechniquesandproceduresshouldmaintainall
recordsandallforms,requiredtobemaintainedundertheAct
andtheRulesandtheduplicatecopiesofthesamebesenttothe
districtauthoritiesconcerned,inaccordancewithRule9(8)ofthe
Rules.

9.6.Therewillbeadirectiontoallgeneticcounsellingcentres,
geneticlaboratories,clinicsetc.tomaintainFormsA,E,Hand
otherstatutoryformsprovidedundertheRulesandifthese
formsarenotproperlymaintained,appropriateactionshouldbe
takenbytheauthoritiesconcerned.”

68.TheHighCourtofGujaratinSectionSuoMotuv.StateofGujarat,

(2009)1GujaratLawReporter64,dealtatlengthwiththeissue

ofpropermaintenanceofrecordandobservedasunder:

“5.Aconjointreadingoftheaboveprovisionswouldclearly
indicateawell­knitlegislativeschemeforensuringastrictand
vigilantenforcementoftheprovisionsoftheActdirectedagainst
femalefoeticideandmisuseofpre­nataldiagnostictechniques….

*********

7.Asseenearlier,theActandtheRulesmadethereunder
provideforanelaborateschemetoensureproperimplementation
oftherelevantlegalprovisionsandthepossibleloopholesin
strictandfullcompliancearesoughttobepluggedbydetailed
provisionsformaintenanceandpreservationofrecords.Inorder
tofullyoperationalisetherestrictionsandinjunctionscontained
intheActingeneralandinSecs.4,5and6inparticular,to
regulatetheuseofpre­nataldiagnostictechnique,tomakethe
pregnantwomanandthepersonconductingthepre­natal
diagnostictestsandproceduresawareofthelegalandother
66

consequencesandtoprohibitdeterminationofsex,theRules
prescribethedetailedformsinwhichrecordshavetobe
maintained.Thus,theRulesaremadeandformsareprescribed
inaidoftheActandtheyaresoimportantforimplementationof
theActandforprosecutionoftheoffenders,thatanyimproper
maintenanceofsuchrecordisitselfmadeequivalenttoviolation
oftheprovisionsofSecs.5and6,byvirtueoftheprovisotosub­
sec.(3)ofSec.4oftheAct.Itmust,however,benotedthatthe
provisowouldapplyonlyincasesofultra­sonographyconducted
onapregnantwoman.Andanydeficiencyorinaccuracyinthe
prescribedrecordwouldamounttocontraventionofthe
provisionsofSecs.5and6unlessanduntilcontraryisprovedby
thepersonconductingsuchultra­sonography.Thedeeming
provisionisrestrictedtothecasesofultra­sonographyon
pregnantwomenandthepersonconductingultra­sonographyis,
duringthecourseoftrialorotherproceeding,entitledtoprove
thattheprovisionsofSecs.5and6were,infact,notviolated.

8.Itneedstobenotedthatimpropermaintenanceoftherecord
hasalsoconsequencesotherthanprosecutionfordeemed
violationofSecs.5or6.Section20oftheActprovidesfor
cancellationorsuspensionofregistrationofGeneticCounselling
Centre,GeneticLaboratoryorGeneticClinicincaseofbreachof
theprovisionsoftheActortheRules.Therefore,inaccuracyor
deficiencyinmaintainingtheprescribedrecordshallalsoamount
toviolationoftheprohibitionimposedbySec.6againstthe
GeneticCounsellingCentre,GeneticLaboratoryorGeneticClinic
andexposesuchclinictoproceedingsunderSec.20oftheAct.
Where,byvirtueofthedeemingprovisionsoftheprovisotosub­
sec.(3)ofSec.4,contraventionoftheprovisionsofSecs.5or6is
legallypresumedandactionsareproposedtobetakenunder
Sec.20,thepersonconductingultra­sonographyonapregnant
womanshallalsohavetobegivenanopportunitytoprovethat
theprovisionsofSecs.5or6werenotviolatedbyhimin
conductingtheprocedure.Thus,theburdenshiftsontothe
personaccusedofnotmaintainingtheprescribedrecord,after
anyinaccuracyordeficiencyisestablished,andhegetsthe
opportunitytoprovethattheprovisionsofSecs.5and6werenot
contravenedinanyrespect.Althoughitisapparentlyaheavy
burden,itislegal,properandjustifiedinviewoftheimportance
oftheRulesregardingmaintenanceofrecordintheprescribed
formsandthelikelyfailureoftheActanditspurposeif
proceduralrequirementswereflouted.Theprovisotosub­sec.(3)
ofSec.4iscrystalclearaboutthemaintenanceoftherecordin
prescribedmannerbeinganindependentoffenceamountingto
violationofSecs.5or6and,therefore,thecomplaintneednot
necessarilyalsoallegeviolationoftheprovisionsofSecs.5or6of
theAct.Arebuttablepresumptionofviolationoftheprovisionsof
Secs.5or6willariseonproofofdeficiencyorinaccuracyin
maintainingtherecordintheprescribedmannerandequivalence
withthoseprovisionswouldariseforpunishmentaswellasfor
disprovingtheirviolationbytheaccusedperson.Thatbeingthe
schemeoftheseprovisions,itwouldbewhollyinappropriateto
quashthecomplaintleginginaccuracyordeficiencyin
67

maintenanceoftheprescribedrecordonlyonthegroundthat
violationofSecs.5or6oftheActwasnotallegedormadeoutin
thecomplaint.Itwouldalsobeimproperandprematuretoexpect
orallowthepersonaccusedofinaccuracyordeficiencyin
maintenanceoftherelevantrecordtoshoworprovethat
provisionsofSecs.5or6werenotviolatedbyhim,beforethe
deficiencyorinaccuracywereestablishedinCourtbythe
prosecutingagencyorbeforetheauthorityconcernedinother
proceedings.”

69.SectionTheActenjoysapresumptionofconstitutionality.Wefind

noviolationoftheconstitutionalprinciples.Theproblemof

femalefoeticideisworldwideandthemattersofcommon

knowledge,reportsandhistoryarethebasisofthelegislation,

provisionsofwhichcannotbetermedtobeillegalorarbitraryin

anymanner.SectionInNamitSharmav.UnionofIndia,(2013)1SCC

745,thisCourthaslaiddownasunder:

“18.Theprinciplesforadjudicatingtheconstitutionalityofa
provisionhavebeenstatedbythisCourtinitsvarious
judgments.Referringtothesejudgmentsandmoreparticularlyto
SectionRamKrishnaDalmiav.JusticeS.R.Tendolkar,AIR1958SC538
andSectionBudhanChoudhryv.StateofBihar,AIR1955SC191,the
authorJagdishSwarupinhisbookConstitutionofIndia(2nd
Edn.,2006)statedtheprinciplestobeborneinmindbythe
courtsanddetailedthemasfollows:(RamKrishnaDalmiacase,
AIRpp.547­48,para11)
“(a)**

(b)thatthereisalwaysapresumptioninfavourofthe
constitutionalityofanenactmentandtheburdenisuponhim
whoattacksittoshowthattherehasbeenacleartransgression
oftheconstitutionalprinciples;

(c)thatitmustbepresumedthatthelegislatureunderstandsand
correctlyappreciatestheneedofitsownpeople,thatitslawsare
directedtoproblemsmademanifestbyexperienceandthatits
discriminationsarebasedonadequategrounds;

(d)**

(e)thatinordertosustainthepresumptionofconstitutionality
thecourtmaytakeintoconsiderationmattersofcommon
knowledge,mattersofcommonreport,thehistoryofthetimes
andmayassumeeverystateoffactswhichcanbeconceived
existingatthetimeoflegislation;and
68

(f)**”

70.Thepetitionerhasnotshownwhichoftheentryisnot

mandatoryintheform.Astheentriesaremandatoryandsine

quanonforundertakingatest/procedure,theassertionthat

theirfundamentalrightsarebeingviolatedbynotproviding

requisiteinformationisnotgermaneandiswithoutsubstance.

71.SectionTheActintendstopreventmischiefoffemalefoeticideand

thedecliningsexratioinIndia.Whensuchistheobjectiveofthe

ActandtheRulesandmischiefwhichitseekstoprevent,

violationoftherightsunderPartIIIoftheConstitutionisnot

found.ThisCourtinSectionHamdardDawakhanav.TheUnionofIndia,

AIR1960SC554,haslaiddownthefollowingprinciples:

“8.Therefore,whentheconstitutionalityofanenactmentis
challengedonthegroundofviolationofanyofthearticlesinPart
IIIoftheConstitution,theascertainmentofitstruenatureand
characterbecomesnecessaryi.e.itssubjectmatter,theareain
whichitisintendedtooperate,itspurportandintenthavetobe
determined.Inordertodosoitislegitimatetotakeinto
considerationallthefactorssuchashistoryofthelegislation,the
purposethereof,thesurroundingcircumstancesandconditions,
themischiefwhichitintendedtosuppress,theremedyforthe
diseasewhichthelegislatureresolvedtocureandthetruereason
fortheremedy;BengalImmunityco.SectionLtd.v.StateofBihar,1955­
2SCR603atpp.632,633((S)AIR1955SC661atp.674);
SectionR.M.D.Chamarbaughwalav.UnionofIndia,1957SCR930atp.
936:((S)AIR1957SC628atp.631);SectionMahantMotiDasv.S.P.
Sahi,AIR1959SC942atp.948.

9.Anotherprinciplewhichhastoborneinmindinexaminingthe
constitutionalityofastatuteisthatitmustbeassumedthatthe
legislatureunderstandsandappreciatestheneedofthepeople
andthelawsitenactsaredirectedtoproblemswhicharemade
69

manifestbyexperienceandthattheelectedrepresentatives
assembledinalegislatureenactlawswhichtheyconsidertobe
reasonableforthepurposeforwhichtheyareenacted.
Presumptionis,therefore,infavouroftheconstitutionalityofan
enactment.SectionCharanjitLalv.UnionofIndia,1950SCR869:(AIR
1951SC41);SectionStateofBombayv.F.N.Bulsara,1951SCR682at
p.708:(AIR1951SC318atp.326);AIR1959SC942.”

72.Themischiefsoughttoberemediedisgraveandtheeffortis

beingmadetomeetthechallengetopreventthebirthofthegirl

child.WhetherSocietyshouldgivepreferencetomalechildisa

matterofgraveconcern.ThesameisviolativeofSectionArticle39Aand

ignoresthemandateofSectionArticle51A(e)whichcastsadutyon

citizenstorenouncepracticesderogatorytothedignityofwomen.

WhensexselectionisprohibitedbyvirtueofprovisionsofSection

6,theotherinterwovenprovisionsintheActstopreventthe

mischiefobviouslytheirconstitutionalityistobeupheld.

73.TheprovisionsofMTPActcameupforconsiderationbefore

theHighCourtofDelhiinSectionRajBokariav.MedicalCouncilofIndia

(W.P.(C)No.795of2010),itobserved:

“11.OnareadingofSection5oftheMTPAct,itappearstothis
Courtthattheopinionformedbythemedicalpractitionertogo
foreitherMTPorpre­terminducementoflabourwhenthe
pregnancyisbeyond20weeks,hasnecessarilytobeinwriting
andintheprescribedformat.Therewasnoquestionoftherenot
beinganyrecordwhatsoeveroftheformingofsuchopinionofthe
medicalpractitioner.TheargumentadvancedbyMs.Acharya
thatinacaseofemergencytheremaybenotimeforrecording
suchopinioncannotexplainthefailuretorecordanopinionin
thepresentcase.ThefactsnarratedbythePetitionerherself
showthataveryconsciousdecisionwastakenofgoingforapre­
terminducementoflaboursometimearound6thOctober2003
whenthedeceasedwasadmittedtoRespondentNo.3hospital.

70

EvenatthattimetheopinionofthePetitionershouldhavebeen
recorded.Thepre­terminduceddeliverytookplaceon8th
October2003.Therewassufficienttime,therefore,forthe
Petitionertorecordheropinion,mandatorilyrequiredbySection
5(1).IntermsofRule3(1)oftheMedicalTerminationof
PregnancyRegulations,2003themedicalpractitionerhasto
recordheropinioninFormI.Thenon­maintenanceofrecordsto
showthebasisonwhichanopinionwasformedtogoinginfora
pre­terminducementinacasewherethepregnancyisbeyond
the20thweekisindeedaveryseriouslapse.Therecanbeno
excusewhatsoeverforamedicalpractitionerseekingtodefend
herselfwithreferencetoSection5oftheMTPActnotmaintaining
anyrecordoftheformationoftheopinionintermsofSection5(1)
readwiththeRegulationsof2003.Intheconsideredviewofthis
Court,theabovefactoraloneisenoughtodemonstratethegross
negligenceonthepartofthePetitioner.”
(emphasissupplied)

74.Onbehalfofpetitioner­Society,reliancehasbeenplaced

regardingmensreaonSectionArunBhandariv.StateofUttarPradesh,

(2013)2SCC801,whereintheCourtobservedasunder:

“22.SectionInG.V.Raov.L.H.V.Prasad,(2000)3SCC693,thisCourt
hasheldthus:(SCCpp.696­97,para7)

“7.Asmentionedabove,Section415hastwoparts.While
inthefirstpart,thepersonmust‘dishonestly’or
‘fraudulently’inducethecomplainanttodeliverany
property;inthesecondpart,thepersonshould
intentionallyinducethecomplainanttodooromittodoa
thing.Thatistosay,inthefirstpart,inducementmust
bedishonestorfraudulent.Inthesecondpart,the
inducementshouldbeintentional.Asobservedbythis
CourtinSectionJaswantraiManilalAkhaneyv.StateofBombay,
AIR1956SC575,aguiltyintentionisanessential
ingredientoftheoffenceofcheating.Inorder,therefore,
tosecureconvictionofapersonfortheoffenceof
cheating,‘mensrea’onthepartofthatperson,mustbe
established.ItwasalsoobservedinMahadeoPrasadv.

StateofW.B.,AIR1954SC724,thatinorderto
constitutetheoffenceofcheating,theintentiontodeceive
shouldbeinexistenceatthetimewhentheinducement
wasoffered.”

Nosustenancecanbedrawnfromtheaforesaiddecisionas

keepingtheinformationblankisdefinitelyaviolationoftheAct
71

andverybasicfundamentalrequisiteforundertakingthetest.

Thus,whenformhasnotbeenfilledup,obviouslytheactis

dishonest,fraudulentandcanbetermedintentionalalso.Such

casecannotbeclassifiedintoclericalerror.

75.ReliancehasalsobeenplacedonthedecisionofthisCourt

inSectionDr.SubhashKashinathMahajanv.StateofMaharashtra,

(2018)6SCC454,inwhichthisCourtobservedthattheCourt

hastobalancetherightoflibertyoftheaccusedguaranteed

underSectionArticle21,whichcouldbetakenawayonlybyjust,fair

andreasonableprocedureandtocheckabuseofpowerbypolice

andinjusticetoacitizen.Thus,somefilterswererequiredtobe

incorporatedtomeetthemandateofArticles14and21.The

substantiveaswellasprocedurallawsmustconformtoArticles

14and21.Theexpressionprocedureestablishedbylawunder

SectionArticle21impliesjust,fairandreasonableprocedure.Thecourt

tomakepurposiveinterpretationandconsiderthedoctrineof

proportionality.ThisCourthasobservedthus:

“12.ThelearnedAmicussubmittedthatundertheschemeofthe
AtrocitiesAct,severaloffencesmaysolelydependuponthe
versionofthecomplainantwhichmaynotbefoundtobetrue.
Theremaynotbeanyothertangiblematerial.Onesidedversion,
beforetrial,cannotdisplacethepresumptionofinnocence.Such
versionmayattimesbeself­servingandforextraneousreason.

Jeopardisinglibertyofapersononanuntriedunilateralversion,
withoutanyverificationortangiblematerial,isagainstthe
fundamentalrightsguaranteedundertheConstitution.Before
72

libertyofapersonistakenaway,therehastobefair,reasonable
andjustprocedure.ReferringtoSection41(1)(b)CrPCitwas
submittedthatarrestcouldbeeffectedonlyiftherewas
“credible”informationandonlyifthepoliceofficerhad“reasonto
believe”thattheoffencehadbeencommittedandthatsuch
arrestwasnecessary.Thus,thepowerofarrestshouldbe
exercisedonlyaftercomplyingwiththesafeguardsintended
underSections41andSection41­ASectionCrPC.Itwassubmittedthatthe
expression“reasontobelieve”inSection41CrPChadtoberead
inthelightofSection26IPCandjudgmentsinterpretingthesaid
expression.Thesaidexpressionwasnotonaparwithsuspicion.
ReferencehasbeenmadeinthisregardtoSectionJotiParshadv.State
ofHaryana,1993Supp(2)SCC497,SectionBadanSinghv.Stateof
U.P.,2001SCCOnLineAll973,SectionAdriDharanDasv.Stateof
W.B.,(2005)4SCC303,SectionTataChemicalsLtd.v.Commr.of
Customs,(2015)11SCC628andSectionGangaSaranSons(P)Ltd.v.
CIT,(1981)3SCC143.Inthepresentcontext,tobalancethe
rightoflibertyoftheaccusedguaranteedunderSectionArticle21,which
couldbetakenawayonlybyjust,fairandreasonableprocedure
andtocheckabuseofpowerbypoliceandinjusticetoacitizen,
exerciseofrightofarrestwasrequiredtobesuitablyregulatedby
wayofguidelinesbythisCourtunderSectionArticle32readwithSectionArticle
141oftheConstitution.Somefilterswererequiredtobe
incorporatedtomeetthemandateofArticles14and21to
strengthentheruleoflaw.

*********

31.Wemay,attheoutset,observethatjurisdictionofthisCourt
toissueappropriateordersordirectionsforenforcementof
fundamentalrightsisabasicfeatureoftheConstitution.This
Court,astheultimateinterpreteroftheConstitution,hasto
upholdtheconstitutionalrightsandvalues.Articles14,19and
21representthefoundationalvalueswhichformthebasisofthe
ruleoflaw.Contentsofthesaidrightshavetobeinterpretedina
mannerwhichenablesthecitizenstoenjoythesaidrights.Right
toequalityandlifeandlibertyhavetobeprotectedagainstany
unreasonableprocedure,evenifitisenactedbythelegislature.
Thesubstantiveaswellasprocedurallawsmustconformto
Articles14and21.Anyabrogationofthesaidrightshastobe
nullifiedbythisCourtbyappropriateordersordirections.Power
ofthelegislaturehastobeexercisedconsistentwiththe
fundamentalrights.Enforcementofalegislationhasalsotobe
consistentwiththefundamentalrights.Undoubtedly,thisCourt
hasjurisdictiontoenforcethefundamentalrightsoflifeand
libertyagainstanyexecutiveorlegislativeaction.Theexpression
“procedureestablishedbylaw”underSectionArticle21impliesjust,fair
andreasonableprocedure.

*********

53.Itiswellsettledthatastatuteistobereadinthecontextof
thebackgroundanditsobject.Insteadofliteralinterpretation,
thecourtmay,inthepresentcontext,preferpurposive
interpretationtoachievetheobjectoflaw.Doctrineof
proportionalityiswellknownforadvancingtheobjectofArticles
14and21.Aproceduralpenalprovisionaffectinglibertyof
73

citizenmustbereadconsistentwiththeconceptoffairnessand
reasonableness.”
(emphasissupplied)

Nosustenancecanbedrawnfromaforesaiddecisionasthe

procedureundertheActisdueprocedureoflawwiththe

safeguardsofnotonlyofappealsunderSection21andRule19,

butthereisaStateSupervisoryBoardinSection16A.The

constitutionofmulti­memberAppropriateAuthorityisprovided

inSection17(3)(a)andtheAdvisoryCommitteeasprovidedin

Section17(6)whichisagainalsoamulti­memberCommittee.

TheAdvisoryCommitteehastoaidandadvisetheAppropriate

Authorityindischargeofitsfunctions.Thus,internal

safeguardsareprovidedintheActandtheRuleswhichconform

toArticles14and21.

76.ReliancehasalsobeenplacedonSectionGianKaurv.Stateof

Punjab,(1996)2SCC648,whereinthisCourtdealtwiththe

provisionsofrighttodiewithintheambitofSectionArticle21.While

discussingtheaforesaid,thisCourthasobservedthus:

“43.Thiscautionevenincasesofphysician­assistedsuicideis
sufficienttoindicatethatassistedsuicidesoutsidethatcategory
havenorationalbasistoclaimexclusionofthefundamental
principlesofsanctityoflife.Thereasonsassignedforattackinga
provisionwhichpenalisesattemptedsuicidearenotavailableto
theabettorofsuicideorattemptedsuicide.Abetmentofsuicide
orattemptedsuicideisadistinctoffencewhichisfoundenacted
eveninthelawofthecountrieswhereattemptedsuicideisnot
madepunishable.Section306IPCenactsadistinctoffence
74

whichcansurviveindependentofSection309intheSectionIPC.The
learnedAttorneyGeneralaswellasboththelearnedamicus
curiaerightlysupportedtheconstitutionalvalidityofSection306
IPC.”
(emphasissupplied)

77.SectionInSubramanianSwamyv.UnionofIndia,(2016)7SCC

221,itwasobservedthatrestrictionthatgoesbeyondthe

requirementofpublicinterestcannotbeconsideredasa

reasonablerestrictionandwouldbearbitrary.Thesame

reasonablenessisnotastaticconcept.Articles14and19are

partofSectionArticle21.Misuseofaprovisionoritspossibilityof

abuseisnogroundtodeclareSection499IPCas

unconstitutional.Ifaprovisionoflawismisusedorabused,itis

fortheLegislaturetoamend,modifyorrepealit.

ThisCourthasobservedthus:

“9.3.Section499IPCexfacieinfringesfreespeechanditisa
seriousinhibitiononthefundamentalrightconferredbySectionArticle
19(1)(a)andhence,cannotberegardedasareasonable
restrictioninademocraticrepublic.Arestrictionthatgoes
beyondtherequirementofpublicinterestcannotbeconsidered
asareasonablerestrictionandwouldbearbitrary.Additionally,
whentheprovisionevengoestotheextentofspeakingoftruthas
anoffencepunishablewithimprisonment,itdeservestobe
declaredunconstitutional,foritdefeatsthecherishedvalueas
enshrinedunderSectionArticle51­A(b)whichisassociatedwiththe
nationalstruggleforfreedom.Theaddedrequirementofthe
accusedhavingtoprovethatthestatementmadebyhimwasfor
thepublicgoodisunwarrantedandtravelsbeyondthelimitsof
reasonablenessbecausethewords“publicgood”arequitevague
astheydonotprovideanyobjectivestandardornormor
guidanceasaconsequencetheprovisionsdonotmeetthetestof
reasonablerestrictionandeventuallytheyhavethechillingeffect
onthefreedomofspeech.

75

9.4.“Reasonableness”isnotastaticconcept,anditmayvary
fromtimetotime.Whatisconsideredreasonableatonepointof
timemaybecomearbitraryandunreasonableatasubsequent
pointoftime.Thecoloniallawhasbecomeunreasonableand
arbitraryinindependentIndiawhichisasovereign,democratic
republicanditisawell­knownconceptthatprovisionsonceheld
tobereasonable,becomeunreasonablewiththepassageoftime.

*********
10.3.Reasonablerestrictionisfoundedontheprincipleof
reasonablenesswhichisanessentialfacetofconstitutionallaw
andoneofthestructuralprinciplesoftheConstitutionisthatif
therestrictioninvadesandinfringesthefundamentalrightinan
excessivemanner,sucharestrictioncannotbetreatedtohave
passedthetestofreasonableness.Thelanguageemployedin
Sections499andSection500IPCisclearlydemonstrativeof
infringementinexcessandhence,theprovisionscannotbe
grantedtheprotectionofSectionArticle19(2)oftheConstitution.
Freedomofexpressionisquintessentialtothesustenanceof
democracywhichrequiresdebate,transparencyandcriticism
anddisseminationofinformationandtheprosecutionincriminal
lawpertainingtodefamationstrikesattheveryrootof
democracy,foritdisallowsthepeopletohavetheirintelligent
judgment.Theintentofthecriminallawrelatingtodefamation
cannotbethelonetesttoadjudgetheconstitutionalityofthe
provisionsanditisabsolutelyimperativetoapplythe“effect
doctrine”forthepurposeofunderstandingitsimpactontheright
offreedomofspeechandexpression,andifit,intheultimate
eventuality,affectsthesacrosanctrightoffreedom,itisultra
vires.Thebasicconceptof“effectdoctrine”wouldnotcomeinthe
categoryofexerciseofpower,thatis,useorabuseofpowerbut
inthecompartmentofdirecteffectandinevitableresultoflaw
thatabridgesthefundamentalright.

*********
17.2.Articles14and19havenowbeenreadtobeapartof
SectionArticle21and,therefore,anyinterpretationoffreedomofspeech
underSectionArticle19(1)(a)whichdefeatstherighttoreputationunder
SectionArticle21isuntenable.Thefreedomofspeechandexpression
underSectionArticle19(1)(a)isnotabsolutebutissubjectto
constrictionsunderSectionArticle19(2).RestrictionsunderSectionArticle19(2)
havebeenimposedinthelargerinterestsofthecommunityto
strikeaproperbalancebetweenthelibertyguaranteedandthe
socialinterestsspecifiedunderSectionArticle19(2).One’srightmustbe
exercisedsoasnottocomeindirectconflictwiththerightof
anothercitizen.Theargumentofthepetitionersthatthecriminal
lawofdefamationcannotbejustifiedbytherighttoreputation
underSectionArticle21becauseonefundamentalrightcannotbe
abrogatedtoadvanceanother,isnotsustainable.Itisbecause(i)
therighttoreputationisnotjustembodiedinSectionArticle21butalso
builtinasarestrictionplacedinSectionArticle19(2)onthefreedomof
speechinSectionArticle19(1)(a);andSection(ii)therighttoreputationisnoless
importantarightthantherighttofreedomofspeech.

*********
76

18.2.Misuseofaprovisionoritspossibilityofabuseisno
groundtodeclareSection499IPCasunconstitutional.Ifa
provisionoflawismisusedorabused,itisforthelegislatureto
amend,modifyorrepealit,ifdeemednecessary.Merepossibility
ofabuseofaprovisioncannotbeagroundfordeclaringa
provisionprocedurallyorsubstantivelyunreasonable.

*********

76.ThesubmissionisthatSections499andSection500IPCarenot
confinedtodefamationoftheStateoritscomponentsbutinclude
defamationofanyprivatepersonbyanotherprivateperson
totallyunconnectedwiththeState.Inessence,theproponement
isthatthedefamationofanindividualbyanotherindividualcan
beacivilwrongbutitcannotbemadeacrimeinthenameof
fundamentalrightasprotectionofprivaterightsquaprivate
individualscannotbeconferredthestatusoffundamentalrights.
If,arguedthelearnedcounsel,suchapedestalisgiven,itwould
beoutsidethepurviewofPartIIIoftheConstitutionandrun
countertoArticles14,19and21oftheConstitution.Itisurged
thatdefamationofaprivatepersonbyanotherpersonis
unconnectedwiththefundamentalrightconferredinpublic
interestbySectionArticle19(1)(a);andafundamentalrightis
enforceableagainsttheStatebutcannotbeinvokedtoservea
privateinterestofanindividual.Elucidatingthesame,ithas
beenpropoundedthatdefamationofaprivatepersonbyanother
personcannotberegardedasa“crime”undertheconstitutional
frameworkandhence,whatispermissibleisthecivilwrongand
theremedyunderthecivillaw.Section499IPC,whichstipulates
defamationofaprivatepersonbyanotherindividual,hasno
nexuswiththefundamentalrightconferredunderSectionArticle19(1)(a)
oftheConstitution,forSectionArticle19(2)ismeanttoincludethe
publicinterestandnotthatofanindividualand,therefore,the
saidconstitutionalprovisioncannotbethesourceofcriminal
defamation.Thisargumentisbuiltupontwogrounds:(i)the
commonthreadthatrunsthroughthevariousgroundsengrafted
underSectionArticle19(2)isrelatabletotheprotectionoftheinterestof
theStateandthepublicingeneralandtheword“defamation”
hastobeunderstoodinthesaidcontext,and(ii)theprincipleof
nosciturasociis,whenapplied,“defamation”remotelycannot
assumethecharacterofpublicinterestorinterestofthecrime
inasmuchacrimeremotelyhasnothingtodowiththesame.

*********

90.SectionInR.SaiBharathiv.J.Jayalalitha,(2004)2SCC9,while
opiningaboutcrime,ithasbeenobservedasunder:(SCCpp.54­
55,para56)
“56.Crimeisappliedtothoseacts,whichareagainst
socialorderandareworthyofseriouscondemnation.
Garafalo,aneminentcriminologist,defined“crime”in
termsofimmoralandanti­socialacts.Hesaysthat:
‘crimeisanimmoralandharmfulactthatisregardedas
criminalbypublicopinionbecauseitisaninjurytoso
muchofthemoralsenseasispossessedbyacommunity
77

—ameasurewhichisindispensablefortheadaptationof
theindividualtosociety’.

TheauthorsSectionoftheIndianPenalCodestatedthat:
‘…WecannotadmitthataSectionPenalCodeisbyanymeansto
beconsideredasabodyofethics,thatthelegislature
oughttopunishactsmerelybecausethoseactsare
immoral,orthat,becauseanactisnotpunishedatall,it
followsthatthelegislatureconsidersthatactas
innocent.Manythingswhicharenotpunishableare
morallyworsethanmanythingswhicharepunishable.
Themanwhotreatsagenerousbenefactorwithgross
ingratitudeandinsolencedeservesmoresevere
reprehensionthanthemanwhoaimsablowinpassion,
orbreaksawindowinafrolic;yetwehavepunishment
forassaultandmischief,andnoneforingratitude.The
richmanwhorefusesamouthfulofricetosaveafellow
creaturefromdeathmaybeafarworsemanthanthe
starvingwretchwhosnatchesanddevourstherice;yet
wepunishthelatterfortheft,andwedonotpunishthe
formerforhard­heartedness.’”
*********

96.Wehavereferredtothisfacetonlytoshowthatthe
submissionsoastutelycanvassedbythelearnedcounselforthe
petitionersthattreatingdefamationasacriminaloffencecan
havenopublicinterestandtherebyitdoesnotserveanysocial
interestorcollectivevalueissanssubstratum.Wemayhastento
clarifythatcreationofanoffencemaybeforsomedifferent
reasondeclaredunconstitutionalbutitcannotbestatedthatthe
legislaturecannothavealawtoconstituteanactoromission
donebyapersonagainsttheotherasacrime.Itdependsonthe
legislativewisdom.Needlesstosay,suchwisdomhastobein
accordwithconstitutionalwisdomandpassthetestof
constitutionalchallenge.Ifthelawenactedisinconsistentwith
theconstitutionalprovisions,itisthedutyoftheCourttotest
thelawonthetouchstoneoftheConstitution.

*********

122.SectionInStateofMadrasv.V.G.Row,AIR1952SC196,theCourt
hasruledthatthetestofreasonableness,whereverprescribed,
shouldbeappliedtoeachindividualstatuteimpugnedandno
abstractstandard,orgeneralpatternofreasonablenesscanbe
laiddownasapplicabletoallcases.Thenatureoftheright
allegedtohavebeeninfringed,theunderlyingpurposeofthe
restrictionsimposed,theextentandurgencyoftheevilsoughtto
beremediedthereby,thedisproportionoftheimposition,the
prevailingconditionsatthetime,shouldallenterintothejudicial
verdict.

*********

127.SectionInSaharaIndiaRealEstateCorpn.Ltd.v.SEBI,(2012)10
SCC603,thisCourtreiteratedtheprincipleofsocialinterestin
thecontextofSectionArticle19(2)asafacetofreasonablerestriction.SectionIn
DwarkaPrasadLaxmiNarainv.StateofU.P.,AIR1954SC224,
whiledeliberatingupon“reasonablerestriction”observedthatit
78

connotesthatthelimitationimposeduponapersoninenjoyment
ofarightshouldnotbearbitraryorofanexcessivenature
beyondwhatisrequiredintheinterestofthepublic.Itwasalso
observedthattoachievequalityofreasonablenessaproper
balancebetweenthefreedomguaranteedunderSectionArticle19(1)(g)
andthesocialcontrolpermittedbyclause(6)ofSectionArticle19hasto
bestruck.”

(emphasissupplied)

Whenweconsidertheaforesaiddictumandapplytothe

Act,nothingcanbemoresinister,immoralandanti­socialact

allowingfemalefoeticide.SectionInR.SaiBharathiv.J.Jayalalitha

(supra)ithasbeenobservedthatcrimeisagainstsocialorder,

immoralandharmfulact.Ithasalsobeenobservedbythis

Courtthatlegislaturecanhavealawtoconstituteanactor

omissiondonebyapersonagainsttheotherasacrime.

Consideringtheevilssoughttoberemedieditcannotbesaid

thattheimpositionintheActinquestionisdisproportionate.

Therestrictionsandtheprovisionsofpunishmenthaveclose

nexuswiththeobjectsoughttobeachieved.Itisnotpossibleto

termactionasmerelyclericaloneasthatispre­requisiteforthe

test/procedureandthatiswhatisintendedbytheAct,ifitis

givenago­byeundertheguiseofclericalerror,theActwouldbe

renderedotiose.Restrictioncannotbesaidtobeexcessiveand

beyondwhatisrequiredinthepublicinterest,theycatertothe
79

feltneedofthesocietyandthecomplexissuesfacingpeople

whichthelegislatureintendstosolve.

78.SectionInShreyaSinghalv.UnionofIndia,(2015)5SCC1,the

CourtdealtwithprovisionsofSection66­SectionAofInformation

TechnologyAct,2000.ThisCourthasobservedthus:

55.TheUSSupremeCourthasrepeatedlyheldinaseriesof
judgmentsthatwherenoreasonablestandardsarelaiddownto
defineguiltinasectionwhichcreatesanoffence,andwhereno
clearguidanceisgiventoeitherlawabidingcitizensorto
authoritiesandcourts,asectionwhichcreatesanoffenceand
whichisvaguemustbestruckdownasbeingarbitraryand
unreasonable.Thus,inMusserv.Utah,92LEd562aUtah
statutewhichoutlawedconspiracytocommitactsinjuriousto
publicmoralswasstruckdown.

*********

59.Itwasfurtherheldthatapenallawisvoidforvaguenessifit
failstodefinethecriminaloffencewithsufficientdefiniteness.
Ordinarypeopleshouldbeabletounderstandwhatconductis
prohibitedandwhatispermitted.Also,thosewhoadministerthe
lawmustknowwhatoffencehasbeencommittedsothatarbitrary
anddiscriminatoryenforcementofthelawdoesnottakeplace.

*********

66.InFederalCommunicationsCommissionv.FoxTelevision
StationsInc.,132SCt2307itwasheld:(SCtp.2317)
“Afundamentalprincipleinourlegalsystemisthatlaws
whichregulatepersonsorentitiesmustgivefairnoticeof
conductthatisforbiddenorrequired.SeeConnallyv.
GeneralConstructionCo.,269US385,US391(“[A]
statutewhicheitherforbidsorrequiresthedoingofan
actintermssovaguethatmenofcommonintelligence
mustnecessarilyguessatitsmeaninganddifferastoits
application,violatesthefirstessentialofdueprocessof
law”);Papachristouv.Jacksonville,405US156,US162
{“Livingunderaruleoflawentailsvarioussuppositions,
oneofwhichisthat‘[allpersons]areentitledtobe
informedastowhattheStatecommandsorforbids’”
[quotingLanzettav.NewJersey,306US451,US453
(alterationinoriginal)]}.Thisrequirementofclarityin
regulationisessentialtotheprotectionsprovidedbythe
DueProcessClauseoftheFifthAmendment.SeeUnited
Statesv.Williams,553US285,US304.Itrequiresthe
invalidationoflawsthatareimpermissiblyvague.A
convictionorpunishmentfailstocomplywithdue
80

processifthestatuteorregulationunderwhichitis
obtained“failstoprovideapersonofordinaryintelligence
fairnoticeofwhatisprohibited,orissostandardless
thatitauthorizesorencouragesseriouslydiscriminatory
enforcement.”Ibid.AsthisCourthasexplained,a
regulationisnotvaguebecauseitmayattimesbe
difficulttoproveanincriminatingfactbutratherbecause
itisunclearastowhatfactmustbeproved.Seeid.,at

306.

Evenwhenspeechisnotatissue,thevoidforvagueness
doctrineaddressesatleasttwoconnectedbutdiscrete
dueprocessconcerns:first,thatregulatedpartiesshould
knowwhatisrequiredofthemsotheymayact
accordingly;second,precisionandguidanceare
necessarysothatthoseenforcingthelawdonotactinan
arbitraryordiscriminatoryway.SeeGraynedv.Rockford,
33LEd2d222,US108­109.Whenspeechisinvolved,
rigorousadherencetothoserequirementsisnecessaryto
ensurethatambiguitydoesnotchillprotectedspeech.””
(emphasissupplied)

ItisapparentfromtheaforesaiddiscussioninShreya

Singhal(supra)inacasewherenoreasonablestandardsarelaid

downtodefineguiltinasectionwhichcreatesanoffence,it

wouldbearbitraryandunconstitutional.Itisabsolutelyclear

thattheprovisionsintheActinquestioncannotbetermedas

arbitraryorillegalorunreasonable.Theprovisionsarenot

vague.Aresponsibledoctorissupposedtoknowbefore

undertakingsuchpre­nataldiagnostictestetc.whatishe

undertakingandwhathisresponsibilitiesare.Ifhecannot

understandtheformheisrequiredtofillandtheimpactof

medicalfindingsanditsconsequenceswhichisvirtuallythepre­

requisiteforundertakingatest,heisnotfittobeamemberofa
81

noblemedicalprofession.Suchculpablenegligenceisnot

warrantedfromadoctor.Itiscrystalclearfromtheprovisions

oftheActwhichcanbegatheredbyapersonofordinary

intelligenceandtheycanhavefairnoticeofwhatisprohibited

andwhatomissiontheyshouldnotmake.Theprinciples

deliberateduponinShreyaSinghal(supra)rathersupportsthe

constitutionalityoftheActandtheRulesframedthereunder.

79.Thereliancehasalsobeenplacedbythepetitionerin

SectionNikeshTarachandShahv.UnionofIndia,(2018)11SCC1,in

whichCourtobservedthus:

“10.Ontheotherhand,thelearnedAttorneyGeneralShriK.K.
VenugopalimpresseduponusthefactthattheParliamentary
legislationquamoneylaunderingisanattemptbyParliamenttoget
backmoneywhichhasbeensiphonedofffromtheeconomy.
AccordingtothelearnedAttorneyGeneral,scheduledoffencesand
offencesunderSections3andSection4ofthe2002Acthavetoberead
togetherandthesaidAct,therefore,formsacompletecodewhich
mustbelookedatbyitself.AccordingtothelearnedAttorney
General,itiswellsettledthatclassificationwhichispunishment
centrichasbeenupheldbyacatenaofjudgmentsandsohavethe
twinconditionsbeenupheldbyvariousdecisionswhichwere
referredtobyhim.Accordingtohim,theexpression“anyoffence”in
Section45(1)(ii)wouldmeanoffenceofalikenatureandnotany
offence,whichwouldincludeatrafficoffenceaswell.Accordingto
thelearnedAttorneyGeneral,Section45caneasilybereaddownto
makeitconstitutionalintwoways.First,theexpression“thereare
reasonablegroundsforbelievingthatheisnotguiltyofsuch
offence”mustbereadasthemakingofaprimafacieassessmentby
thecourtofreasonableguilt.Secondly,accordingtothelearned
AttorneyGeneral,inanycasetheconditionscontainedinSection
45(1)(ii)arethereinadifferentformwhenbailisgrantedordinarily
insofarasoffencesgenerallyareconcernedandhereferredtoSectionState
ofU.P.v.AmarmaniTripathi,(2005)8SCC21forthispurpose.
AccordingtothelearnedAttorneyGeneral,ifharmoniously
construedwiththerestoftheAct,Section45isunassailable.He
relieduponSection24oftheAct,whichinvertstheburdenofproof,
82

andstronglyrelieduponSectionGautamKunduv.Directorateof
Enforcement,(2015)16SCC1andSectionRohitTandonv.Directorateof
Enforcement,(2018)11SCC46.InanswertoShriRohatgi’s
argumentontheobjectofthe2012SectionAmendmentAct,accordingto
thelearnedAttorneyGeneral,itiswellsettledthatwherethe
languageoftheActisplain,norecoursecanbetakentotheobject
oftheActandhecitedanumberofjudgmentsforthisproposition.
HereferredustoSection106oftheEvidenceAct,1872andargued
thatwhenreadwithSection24ofthe2002Act,itwouldbeclear
thatthetwinconditionscontainedinSection45areonlyin
furtheranceoftheobjectofunearthingblackmoneyandthatwe
should,therefore,beveryslowtosetatlibertypersonswhoare
allegedoffendersofthecancerofmoneylaundering.Ultimately,
accordingtothelearnedAttorneyGeneral,Section45beingpartof
acompletecodemustbeupheldinorderthatthe2002Actwork,so
thatmoneythatislaunderedcomesbackintotheeconomyand
personsresponsibleforthesamearebroughttobook.

*********

46.WemustnotforgetthatSection45isadrasticprovisionwhich
turnsonitsheadthepresumptionofinnocencewhichis
fundamentaltoapersonaccusedofanyoffence.Beforeapplication
ofasectionwhichmakesdrasticinroadsintothefundamentalright
ofpersonallibertyguaranteedbySectionArticle21oftheConstitutionof
India,wemustbedoublysurethatsuchprovisionfurthersa
compellingStateinterestfortacklingseriouscrime.Absentany
suchcompellingStateinterest,theindiscriminateapplicationofthe
provisionsofSection45willcertainlyviolateSectionArticle21ofthe
Constitution.ProvisionsakintoSection45haveonlybeenupheld
onthegroundthatthereisacompellingStateinterestintackling
crimesofanextremelyheinousnature.

*********

49.ThelearnedAttorneyGeneralreliedheavilyonSection24ofthe
2002Acttoshowthattheburdenofproofinanyproceeding
relatingtoproceedsofcrimeisuponthepersonchargedwiththe
offenceofmoneylaundering,andinthecaseofanyotherpersoni.e.
apersonnotchargedwithsuchoffence,thecourtmaypresume
thatsuchproceedsareinvolvedinmoneylaundering.Section45of
theActonlyspeaksofthescheduledoffenceinPartAofthe
Schedule,whereasSection24speaksoftheoffenceofmoney
laundering,andraisesapresumptionagainsttheperson
prosecutedforthecrimeofmoneylaundering.Thispresumption
hasnoapplicationtothescheduledoffencementionedinSection
45,andcannot,therefore,advancethecaseoftheUnionofIndia.”
(emphasissupplied)

Consideringthecompellinggeneralpublicinterestand

genderjusticeanddecliningsexratio,wehavenohesitationin
83

upholdingthevalidityoftheprovisionsofSection23(1)ofthe

Act.

80.ReliancehasalsobeenplacedinSectionP.Rathinamv.Unionof

India,(1994)3SCC394,thisCourtobservedthus:

48.Theaforesaidshowthatlawhasmanypromisestokeep
includinggrantingofsomuchoflibertyaswouldnotjeopardisethe
interestofanotherorwouldaffecthimadversely,i.e.,allowingof
stretchingofarmuptothatpointwheretheotherfellow’snosedoes
notbegin.Forthispurpose,lawmayhave“milestogo”.Then,law
cannotbecruel,whichitwouldbebecauseofwhatisbeingstated
later,ifpersonsattemptingsuicidearetreatedascriminalsandare
prosecutedtogetthempunished,whereaswhattheyneedis
psychiatrictreatment,becausesuicidebasicallyisa“callforhelp”,
asstatedbyDr(Mrs)Dastoor,aBombayPsychiatrist,whoheadsan
organisationcalled“SuicidePrevent”.Mayitberemindedthatalaw
whichiscruelviolatesSectionArticle21oftheConstitution,ala,SectionDeenav.
UnionofIndia,(1983)4SCC645.

*********

51.Acrimepresentsthesecharacteristics:(1)itisaharm,brought
aboutbyhumanconductwhichthesovereignpowerintheState
desirestoprevent;(2)amongthemeasuresofpreventionselectedis
thethreatofpunishment;and(3)legalproceedingsofaspecialkind
areemployedtodecidewhetherthepersonaccuseddidinfact
causetheharm,andis,accordingtolaw,tobeheldlegally
punishablefordoingso.(Seepp.1to5ofKenny’sOutlinesof
CriminalLaw,19thEdn.,fortheabovepropositions.)
(emphasissupplied)

81.WefindthatActintendsnottojeopardisethefemale

foetus.Assuchcurtailmentofthelibertyincauseofsucha

violationcannotbesaidtobedisproportionate.

82.ReliancehasalsobeenplacedonSectionStateofUttarPradeshv.

WasifHaider,(2019)2SCC303,inwhichithasbeenlaiddown
84

thatanoffencehastobeprovedbeyondreasonabledoubt.The

relevantportionofthedecisionisextractedhereunder:

“22.Intheinstantappealsbeforeus,theprosecutionhasfailedto
linkthechainofcircumstancessoastodispelthecloudofdoubt
abouttheculpabilityoftherespondent­accused.Itisawell­settled
principlethatasuspicion,howevergraveitmaybecannottake
placeofproofi.e.thereisalongdistancebetween”maybe”and
“mustbe”,whichmustbetraversedbytheprosecutiontoproveits
casebeyondreasonabledoubt[SectionSeeNarendraSinghv.StateofM.P.,
(2004)10SCC699].”

Thereisnodisputewiththeaforesaidproposition,butthat

isnotthequestionbeforeus.Whentrialtakesplaceobviously

thecommissionoftheoffencehastobeprovedasrequired

undertherelevantapplicablelaw.

83.Therecanbealegislativeprovisionforimposingburdenof

proofinreverseorderrelatingtogenderjustice.Inthelightof

prevalentviolenceagainstwomenandchildren,theLegislature

hasenactedvariousActs,andamendedexistingstatutes,

reversingthetraditionalburdenofproof.Someexamplesof

reversedburdenofproofinstatutesincludeSections29andSection30

oftheProtectionofChildrenfromSexualOffences(POCSO)Act

inwhichthereispresumptionregardingcommissionand

abetmentofcertainoffencesundertheAct,andpresumptionof

mentalstateoftheaccusedrespectively.InSections113­Aand

113­BoftheIndianEvidenceActthereispresumptionregarding
85

abetmentofsuicideanddowrydeath,andinSection114­SectionAof

theIndianEvidenceActthereispresumptionofabsenceof

consentofprosecutrixinoffenceofrape.

84.Theseprovisionsareaclearindicationoftheseriousness

withwhichcrimesagainstwomenandchildrenhavebeen

viewedbytheLegislature.Itisalsoevidentfromthese

provisionsthatduetothepervasivenatureofthesecrimes,the

Legislaturehasdeemeditfittoemployareversedburdenof

proofinthesecases.ThepresumptionintheprovisotoSection

4(3)oftheActhastobeviewedinthislight.

85.SectionTheActisasocialwelfarelegislation,whichwasconceived

inlightoftheskewedsex­ratioofIndiaandtoavoidthe

consequencesofthesame.Askewedsex­ratioislikelytoleadto

greaterincidencesofviolenceagainstwomenandincreasein

practicesoftrafficking,‘bride­buying’etc.Therigorous

implementationoftheActisanedificeonwhichreststhetaskof

savingthegirlchild.

86.Inviewoftheaforesaiddiscussionandinouropinion,no

caseismadeouttoholdthatdeficiencyinmaintainingthe

recordmandatedbySections5,Section6andtheprovisotoSection4(3)
Section86

cannotbedilutedastheaforesaidprovisionshavebeen

incorporatedinvariouscolumnsoftheForm‘F’andasalready

heldthatitwouldnotbeacaseclericalmistakebutabsenceof

sinequanonforundertakingadiagnostictest/procedure.It

cannotbesaidtobeacaseofclericalortechnicallapse.Section

23(1)neednothaveprovidedforgradationofoffenceonce

offenceisofnon­maintenanceoftherecord,maintenanceof

whichitselfintendtopreventfemalefoeticide.Itneednothave

gradedoffenceanyfurtherdifferenceissobluritwouldnotbe

possibletopreventcrime.Thereneednothavebeenany

gradationofoffenceonthebasisofactualdeterminationofsex

andnon­maintenanceofrecordasundertakingthetestwithout

thepre­requisitesistotallyprohibitedundertheAct.Thenon­

maintenanceofrecordisveryfoundationofoffence.Forfirstand

secondoffences,gradationhasbeenmadewhichisquite

reasonable.

87.ProvisionsofSection23(2)hasalsobeenattackedonthe

groundthatsuspensiononframingthechargesshouldnotbe

onthebasisofclericalmistake,inadvertentclericallapses.As

wefounditisnotwhatissuggestedtobeclericalortechnical

lapsenoritcanbesaidtobeinadvertentmistakesasexistence
87

oftheparticularmedicalconditionismandatedbySections4

andSection5includingtheageetc.Thus,suspensiononframingof

chargescannotbesaidtobeunwarranted.Thesameintendsto

preventmischief.Wearenotgoingintotheminuteswhatcanbe

treatedasasimpleclericalmistakethathastobeseencasewise

andnocategorizationcanbemadeofsuchmistakes,ifany,but

withrespecttowhatismandatorytobeprovidedintheFormas

perprovisionsofvarioussectionshastobeclearlymentioned,it

cannotbekeptvague,obscureorblankasitisnecessaryfor

undertakingrequisitetests,investigationsandprocedures.

ThereareinternalsafeguardsintheActundertheprovisions

relatingtoappeal,theSupervisoryBoardaswellasthe

AppropriateAuthority,itsAdvisoryCommitteeandwefindthat

theprovisionscannotbesaidtobesufferingfromanyviceas

framingofthechargeswouldmeanprimafaciecasehasbeen

foundbytheCourtandinthatcase,suspensioncannotbesaid

tobeunwarranted.

88.Itwasalsoprayedthatactionshouldbetakenunder

Section20aftershowcausenoticeandreasonableopportunity

ofbeingheard.ThereisalreadyaprovisioninSection20(1)to

issueashowcauseandinSection20(2)containstheprovision
88

astoreasonableopportunityofbeingheard.Thus,wefindno

infirmityintheaforesaidprovision.

89.TherealsotheAppropriateAuthoritytoconsidereachcase

onmeritswiththehelpofAdvisoryBodywhichhaslegalexpert.

TheAdvisoryCommitteeconsistsofonelegalexpertwhichhas

toaidandadvisetheAppropriateAuthorityasprovidedin

Sections16andSection17(5)(6).Thus,thesubmissionthatlegaladvice

shouldbetakenbeforeprosecution,inviewoftheprovisions,

hasnolegstostand.

90.Itwasalsocontendedthatactionofseizureof

ultrasonographymachineandsealingthepremisescannotbe

saidtobeappropriate.Thesubmissionistootenuousandliable

toberejected.Section30oftheActenumeratesthepowerof

searchandseizureandRules11and12oftheRulesprovidefor

thepoweroftheAppropriateAuthoritytosealequipment,

inspectpremisesandconductsearchandseizure.Itwas

pointedoutbytherespondentsthata“StandardOperational

Procedure”,detailingtheprocedureforsearchandseizurehas

beendevelopedbytheMinistryofHealthandFamilyWelfare.

Further,regulartrainingofAppropriateAuthoritiesisbeing

carriedoutatboththeNationalandStatelevel.AlltheStates
89

havealsobeendirectedtodeveloponlineMISformonitoringthe

implementationoftheAct.Itissettledpropositionthatwhen

offenceisfoundtobecommitted,therecanbeseizureand

sealingofthepremisesandequipmentduringtrialasnolicense

canbegiventogooncommittingtheoffence.Suchprovisionsof

seizure/sealing,pendingtrialaretobefoundinvariablyin

variouspenallegislations.Theimpugnedprovisionscontained

intheActconstitutereasonablerestrictionstocarryonany

professionwhichcannotbesaidtobeviolativeofRightto

EqualityenshrinedunderSectionArticle14orrighttopractiseany

professionunderSectionArticle19(1)(g).ConsideringtheFundamental

DutiesunderSectionArticle51A(e)andconsideringthatfemalefoeticide

ismostinhumaneactandresultsinreductioninsexratio,such

provisionscannotbesaidtobeillegalandarbitraryinany

mannerbesidestherearevarioussafeguardsprovidedintheAct

topreventarbitraryactionsasdiscussedabove.

91.Inlightofthenatureofoffenceswhichnecessitatedthe

enactmentoftheActandthegraveconsequencesthatwould

ensueotherwise,suspensionofregistrationunderSection23(2)

oftheActservesasadeterrent.Theindividualcasescitedbythe

petitioner­Societycannotbeagroundforpassingblanket
90

directions,andtheindividualshaveremediesunderthelaw

whichtheycanavail.Moreover,theconceptofdoublejeopardy

wouldhavenoapplicationhere,asitprovidesthataperson

shallnotbeconvictedofthesameoffencetwice,whichis

demonstrablynotthecasehere.Suspensionisastep­in­aidto

furthertheintendmentofact.Itcannotbesaidtobedouble

punishment.Incaseanemployeeisconvictedforanoffence,he

cannotcontinueinservicewhichcanbetermedtobedouble

jeopardy.

92.Nonmaintenanceofrecordisspringboardforcommission

ofoffenceoffoeticide,notjustaclericalerror.Inorderto

effectivelyimplementthevariousprovisionsoftheAct,the

detailedformsinwhichrecordshavetobemaintainedhavebeen

providedforbytheRules.TheseRulesarenecessaryforthe

implementationoftheActandimpropermaintenanceofsuch

recordamountstoviolationofprovisionsofSections5andSection6of

theAct,byvirtueofprovisotoSection4(3)oftheAct.In

addition,anybreachoftheprovisionsoftheActoritsRules

wouldattractcancellationorsuspensionofregistrationof

GeneticCounsellingCentre,GeneticLaboratoryorGenetic
91

Clinic,bytheAppropriateAuthorityasprovidedunderSection

20oftheAct.

93.Thereisnosubstanceinthesubmissionthatprovisionof

Section4(3)bereaddown.ByvirtueoftheprovisotoSection

4(3),apersonconductingultrasonographyonapregnant

woman,isrequiredtokeepcompleterecordofthesameinthe

prescribedmannerandanydeficiencyorinaccuracyinthesame

amountstocontraventionofSection5orSection6oftheAct,

unlessthecontraryisprovedbythepersonconductingthesaid

ultrasonography.TheaforementionedprovisotoSection4(3)

reflectstheimportanceofrecordsinsuchcases,astheyare

oftentheonlysourcetoensurethatanestablishmentisnot

engagedinsex­determination.

94.Section23oftheAct,whichprovidesforpenaltiesof

offences,actsinaidoftheotherSectionsoftheActisquite

reasonable.Itprovidesforpunishmentforanymedical

geneticist,gynecologist,registeredmedicalpractitionerora

personwhoownsaGeneticCounsellingCentre,aGeneticClinic

oraGeneticLaboratory,andrendershisprofessionalor

technicalservicestooratsaidplace,whetheronhonorarium
92

basisorotherwiseandcontravenesanyprovisionsoftheAct,or

theRulesunderit.

95.Therefore,dilutionoftheprovisionsoftheActortheRules

wouldonlydefeatthepurposeoftheActtopreventfemale

foeticide,andrelegatetherighttolifeofthegirlchildunder

SectionArticle21oftheConstitution,toamereformality.

96.Inviewoftheabove,nocaseismadeoutforstrikingdown

theprovisotoSection4(3),provisionsofSections23(1),Section23(2)or

toreaddownSection20or30oftheAct.Completecontentsof

Form‘F’areheldtobemandatory.Thus,thewritpetitionis

dismissed.Nocosts.

.……………………….J.

(ArunMishra)

.……………………….J.

(VineetSaran)
NewDelhi;

May03,2019

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