'Can't allow errant doctor to use sealed sonography machine'

  • Kanchan Chaudhari, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
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  • Updated: Feb 01, 2013 01:51 IST

Stating the need to prevent sex determination tests, the Bombay high court last week struck down an order passed by the Thane magistrate which allowed an erring doctor from Mira Road to use his ultra sonography machine that was sealed earlier.

Acting on a plea filed by Dr Krishna Thakkar, the Thane judicial magistrate had directed the authorities to remove the seal on his sonography machine. The medical officer of the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation had challenged the order on grounds that the seal need not be removed, as Dr Thakkar's licence has been suspended. Dr Thakkar has been booked under the Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 2003.

Justice Roshan Dalvi struck down the magistrate's November 2, 2012 order stating that offences under the Act are committed using the machine and repetition of the offence can be best achieved by sealing it. "Once a prima facie case is made out, repetition of such a crime has to be prevented. It cannot be allowed to proliferate," justice Dalvi said.

The judge said that the power to seal the machine is the most potent weapon and should be used in larger public interest.

Slamming the magistrate for passing the order mechanically, justice Dalvi said, "The order wholly lacks sensitivity. The court must consider the effect and impact of each [of its] order."

The doctor had tried to justify the magistrate's order saying that the machine is an electronic device that will rust if not maintained by continuous use. "Citizens have no legal right to claim to be the user of their machines if they are seen to be abusing the equipment," the judge said. The court, however, allowed the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation to put the machine to use at any of its hospitals.


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