“Why are people still under the phobia of having a girl child,” asked the Bombay high court on Thursday, upholding the restriction on portability of sonography machines.
The court held that more than public interest, the interest of the child in the womb is of paramount importance. The remarks came in response to a petition filed by the Radiology and Imaging Association, challenging the circular issued by a medical officer (health), Dahisar ward on July 28, 2011, imposing restriction on portability of portable sonography machines.
The court, while rejecting the petition, held that the portable machine has to stay within the institution and should not be shared with other institutions or used for house calls. The court added that the union ministry can take an appropriate decision as to whether this should be made applicable for the entire country.
The petitioner’s advocate Anita Bhaktwani argued that the authorities should follow a process of law instead of issuing a circular under the amendment in the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Tests (PCPNDT) Act.She further argued that just one person misusing the machine should not be a reason to restrict everyone from using it.
Bhaktwani added that the machine helps patients in other ways than determining sex of the foetus.
The division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Mridula Bhatkar however pointed out that just one case of misuse is enough to impose such restrictions. “Even today in this country people undergo tests to determine the sex of the child. This unfortunate trend is going on in different parts of the country,” justice Majmudar said. “No society can exist without a lady. Imagine living in this world for 100 years without a lady.”
Even yesterday a girl child was born, justice Majmudar said in a lighter mood, referring to actor Aishwarya Rai’s baby.
Counsel Advait Sethna, appearing for the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, opposed the petition saying that the circular was valid since this kind of technology should not be encouraged as it can be misused.
Assistant government pleader Niranjan Pandit seconded the opinion saying that the government was in support of the circular which should be enforced all over the state.