The Law: PCPNDT Act
The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act was enacted by the Parliament of India to stop sex selection and sex determination, and arrest the declining child sex ratio in the country. The purpose of this Act is to prevent the misuse of techniques for sex selection and sex determination (before or after conception). This Act was first brought into effect in 1994 (then known as PNDT Act) to prohibit the use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for the purpose of sex determination test. This is important to highlight that the PCPNDT Act is women friendly Act and has laid down certain rules and regulations that apply to clinics and hospitals that provide pre-conception and pre-natal services and employ ultrasound technology.
- No centre will conduct, associate or help in conducting pre-natal diagnostic techniques (PNDT) unless registered under the PCPNDT Act.
- No person will conduct or help in conducting pre-natal diagnostic technique on contract, voluntary or charitable basis unless the place is registered and unless the person is authorized to conduct it at that place.
- No person will conduct a pre-natal diagnostic technique including an ultrasonography for the purpose of sex determination.
- No person is allowed to communicate the sex of the foetus either through words, signs or in any other manner whatsoever.
- No person or center will issue, publish, distribute or communicate any advertisement in any form regarding facilities of sex selection and sex determination.
- No manufacturer, importer, supplier or dealer of ultrasound machines will sell, rent or allow the use of any ultrasound machines to any centre not registered under the PCPNDT Act.
- If any person acts contrary to the prohibitions including advertisement, he/she will be liable to be punished with imprisonment, which may extend to 3 years and fine which may extend to Rs 10,000. On subsequent conviction imprisonment may extend to 5 years and the fine may extend to Rs.50, 000.
- If any person seeks the aid of a centre for conducting pre-natal diagnostic techniques on any pregnant woman for sex selection or sex determination then the person will be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 3 years and fine which may extend to Rs.50,000. Any subsequent conviction entails imprisonment, which may extend to 5 years and fine that may extend to Rs.1 lakh.(Pregnant women are exempted under this Act, unless proven otherwise)
- For breaking of any provision of the Act or rules for which no penalty has been mentioned in the Act the person will be punishable with an imprisonment which may extend to 3 months or with fine, which may extend to Rs 1,000 or with both.
Other laws that support women’s rights
It is equally important to enact and implement laws that tackle the factors that contribute to declining CSR. Such as laws related to dowry, inheritance, domestic violence and other laws on violence and against women, child marriage, and crimes in the name of honour. It is only when women’s rights are fully supported, that a conducive environment will be created for girls to grow and prosper.