In a major boost for the drive against female foeticide, the Bombay high court on Thursday held that authorities can invoke extraordinary powers conferred upon them by the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act to suspend the licence of a sonologist and seize the ultrasound machine, if they find discrepancies in the records of sonography conducted on pregnant women.
The division bench of justice DD Sinha and justice VK Tahilramani dismissed a petition filed by radiologist Dr Sujit Dange challenging an order passed by a medical officer of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) suspending the licence of his diagnostic centre at Nerul in Navi Mumbai, and seizing his ultrasound machine.
The action had been taken after the medical officer visited the diagnostic centre on June 21, 2011, and found discrepancies in the record of sonographies conducted on pregnant women.
The medical officer found that the radiologist had not updated the F-Register, although 37 F-Forms were available, and details of only 23 pregnant women had been entered.
Besides, on a few forms, signatures of the radiologist and the patients were not taken and referral slips were not in appropriate format.
Dr Dange had challenged the suspension and seizure of his ultrasound machine before the State Appellate Authority under the PCPNDT Act.
He approached the HC after the appellate authority rejected his appeal on November 9, 2011, and upheld the order of the medical officer.
The court, however, concluded that the petitioner himself has admitted existence of discrepancies in the record, which, according to the presumptions under the PCPNDT Act results in contravention of its provisions and therefore amount to a criminal offence.