State lacks legal expertise for fighting PNDT cases
In spite of getting 54 people, including 30 doctors, convicted, so far, under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, the Haryana health department is short of legal expertise for prosecution.punjab Updated: Jan 28, 2015 17:18 IST
In spite of getting 54 people, including 30 doctors, convicted, so far, under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, the Haryana health department is short of legal expertise for prosecution.
On January 20, the Supreme Court made this critical observation about the implementing of the PC-PNDT Act in Haryana. “We must record the submission of Anitha Shenoy, the counsel for Dr Sabu Mathew George, the intervener, that… there is no proper launching of prosecution and eventually conviction, as… there is lethargy on part of the competent authorities,” it observed. The Haryana affidavit, the court held, reflected that the authorities required to lodge the prosecution sometimes faced enormous difficulty, since they did not have proper assistance.
The Supreme Court issued directions that unless there was an interdiction by it or the high court, all related trials before the various Haryana courts must be finalised by June. The judicial academy of the Punjab and Haryana high court has been asked to train the authorities tasked with initiating prosecution. The director of prosecution will remain present in the academy to see that all officers trained with sincerity.
The apex court also asked the state government to appoint a panel of competent lawyers who could help the appropriate authorities remove technical flaws in arguments. The director of prosecution and the judicial academy will have to lay adequate stress on training the officials in the districts where the sex ratio was dismal.
This will have to be coupled with awareness camps by the State Legal Services Authority, which may constitute a separate cell for this kind of legal aid. The Supreme Court asked the Punjab and Haryana high court chief justice to fix a date for this training and get the registrar (judicial) to convey it to the chief secretary. The appropriate authorities would be liable for disciplinary proceedings if they failed to attend the training.