In a major reprieve for radiologists, the Bombay high court on Tuesday said that mere discrepancies and inadvertent mistakes in maintaining records, as envisaged under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, cannot itself be the basis on which action is initiated against the doctor.
“Certain lacunae or simply omissions in the consent form should not be the basis to prosecute the person,” said the division bench of Justice AV Nirgude and Justice VL Achliya, while quashing the prosecution of Dr. Sai Shiradkar from Nanded.
The decision will bring reprieve for radiologists in general, as in most cases registered under the PCPNDT Act in Maharashtra, doctors have been booked for procedural lapses and discrepancies in their records.
In February 2015, members of the Regional Vigilance Squad at Aurangabad had inspected Shiradkar’s ultrasonography centre and found discrepancies in the records, that seeks to punish sex-selective abortions, leading to female foeticide.
Action was initiated against her after the vigilance squad noticed discrepancies.
The doctor approached the high court last year seeking to quash the proceedings initiated against her, contending that none of the inadvertent mistakes could be regarded as intentional violation of the provisions of the Act.
The court upheld her contentions, saying that it was not a case wherein no record was maintained.
“The allegations made are so absurd that no prudent person can conclude that there are sufficient grounds to proceed against the petitioner (Dr. Shiradkar),” said the bench.
“In the case, the appropriate authority has failed to discharge its statutory obligation, which restricts to noting of certain lacunae, omissions and certain mistakes in maintenance of records. Mistakes without any criminal intent, that are merely procedural in nature, needs to be properly understood before taking drastic action,” said the high court.