The Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) on Monday got a stay on the Government of India's recent notification, restricting radiologists from visiting not more than two clinics within a district and limiting their working hours per day.
The government's order, feared the radiologists, would have escalated the cost of ultrasound by at least 10% and reduced the number of centres dramatically, making patients suffer in the long run. The stay is applicable across the country.
The Centre had issued fresh gazette notification on the Pre Conception & Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique (PNDT) Act, 1994, on June 5 to check pre-natal sex determination, which results in rampant female foeticide.
India's sex ratio is an alarming 914 girls per 1,000 boys, while the sex ratio at Delhi is 866 girls per 1,000 boys.
The association had gone to the court against the amendment and the Delhi High Court's division bench heard the case on Monday and ruled in favour of radiologists.
"We told the court that we were equally concerned about the scourge of sex selective abortions but the measures taken by the government were misdirected. It would not only not affect in any way the declining sex ratio, but would also lead to denial of ultrasound facility to the general public for ailments and diseases which have nothing to do with pregnancy ultrasound," said Dr Harsh Mahajan, national president, IRIA.
Pregnancy ultrasound forms only about 5% of all ultrasounds. "We are keen to work closely with the government to find a solution to this problem," Dr Mahajan added.
The order also stays the government's directive to inform about any new recruitment of a radiologist or installation or shifting of an ultrasound machine 30 days in advance, which earlier was seven days.
The next hearing on the case is scheduled in September.