PRENATAL SEX DETERMINATION IS A OFFENCE
Recently the Supreme Court observed that prenatal sex determination is a grave offence with serious consequences for the society as a whole. [ref. REKHA SENGAR VERSUS STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH, SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 380 OF 2021]
Son preference and discrimination against the girl child is present in India and manifests itself in many ways, including sex selection i.e. pre-birth elimination of female foetuses (if any). This practice has led to declining in the Child Sex Ratio in most parts of India. The Child Sex ratio, which is the number of girls per 1000 boys in the 0-6 years age group has declined from 976 in 1961 to 914 in 2011. The Child Sex Ratio in the State of Maharashtra declined from 940 in 1991 to 913 in 2001 to 883 in 2011.
The decline in sex ratio can gravely affect the equilibrium of nature and destroy our moral and social fabric. Sex selection is a reflection of the low status of women in society and a patriarchal mindset down in son preference. Sex selection also occurs because of the perceived financial expense of having a girl child, which includes paying for her education, community customs that put the burden on the family, the increasing commercialization of the institution of marriage because of which large sums have to be spent on the marriage ceremony and given away as dowry. In general, this perception joined with the attitude that the girl is a paraya dhan creates a mindset that girls are indeed a liability and boys are the assets because of reasons (preconceived notion) of lineage and the perception that they would provide old-age support. The bench headed by Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar said while upholding the Madhya Pradesh High Court order dismissing the anticipatory bail application, filed by an accused.
The accused was charged under relevant provisions of Indian Penal Code, Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 and under the provisions of the Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 for allegedly conducting the illegal medical practices of sex determination and sex selective abortion.