The Maharashtra chapter of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association has punched holes in the claims made by Kolhapur collector Laxmikant Deshmukh that his innovation helped the worst-hit district improve its sex ratio.
The association moved the Bombay high court challenging Deshmukh’s decision to make it mandatory to install Silent Observer, an electronic device with every sonography/ultrasound machine.
Replying to their petition, Deshmukh said the device helps authorities track every sonography conducted in the district making it easier to curb the menace of illegal sex determination and sex-selective abortions. He claimed that the device has helped the district improve its sex ratio from 839 females per 1,000 males (according to 2001 Census) to 878 female per 1,000 males.
However, the association claimed that the sex ratio of the district has worsened ever since the Silent Observer project was implemented. The association obtained information under the Right to Information Act indicating that the sex ratio for the district during 2009 was 848.18, and for the first seven months of 2010, the figure was 840.08.
Counsel for the association, Girish Kulkarni, told a division bench comprising chief justice Mohit Shah and justice DG Karnik that the device has a separate switch, which when turned off, disconnects it from the ultrasound machine.
While the association maintains that the circular issued by Deshmukh on March 10, 2010 mandates all sonologists/radiologists in the district to install Silent Observer, the collector claimed it was not a directive but an appeal to the medical fraternity to take up the matter voluntarily, and that there was no compulsion. The association contended that the collector had no authority to make installation mandatory because it was neither statutorily mandated nor has it been approved by the state.
It has also alleged that there was a nexus between the collector and the company, Magnum Opus, which manufactures the software. The association also objected to the steep hike in costs of the device from Rs28,500 a year ago to Rs39,500.