A decision disallowing authorities from seizing ultra sonography machines, purportedly used for illegal prenatal sex determination, is to be reviewed by a full bench of the Bombay high court.
The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice SJ Kathawala recently decided to review the decision of another high court bench holding that provisions of prenatal diagnostic techniques (prohibition of sex selection) Act, 1994, do not confer any power on authorities to seize ultra sonography machines.
The order to refer the earlier decision to a full bench came during the hearing of a petition by Kolhapur-based Dr Suhasini Karanjkar. She challenged the Kolhapur Municipal Corporation’s seizure of an ultra sonography machine from her hospital following complaints of prenatal sex determination.
Her counsel, Sagar Mane, said authorities had no power to seize the machine. In support of his contention he referred to a decision by another bench in Dr Dadasaheb Tarte’s case, a few months ago.
Additional government pleader SR Nargolkar, on the other hand, submitted that the decision in Dr Tarte’s case was based on a completely different set of facts.
Nargolkar therefore urged the court to review the decision in Dr Tarte’s case contending legal provisions conferred power upon authorities to seize “any other material” found at the genetic counselling centre.
The bench presided over by the chief justice agreed with him and observed prima facie the provisions were quite widely worded and provided for the power to seize not only registers and documents but also “any other material object”.
“These include even the ultra sonography machine, the bench added while referring the matter for review.