(IGP) Special Current Affairs Material for IAS (Pre) 2013
Chapter: Gist of Press Information
Topic: Pre-conception & Pre-natal
Diagnostics Techniques Act, 1994
Q. Give the timeline of actions taken regarding
Pre-natal diagnostic ban?
- Female infanticide had been prohibited through legislation in
pre-independence period and certain provisions were included in the Indian
Penal code, 1860 for punishing causing miscarriages and other such offences
but with the advent of diagnostic technology to detect the sex of the foetus
very early on in pregnancy, a need was felt for a specific law to prevent
the misuse of technology which could lead to female foeticide.
- With the rise of pre-natal diagnostic techniques especially
amniocentesis, the Government issued a directive banning its misuse in
government hospitals/laboratories in 1978. Subsequently, in 1988 the
Government of Maharashtra enacted the Maharashtra Regulation of Pre-natal
diagnostic Techniques Act.
- The Pre-conception & Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act,
1994 was enacted in response to the decline in Sex ratio in India, which
deteriorated from 972 in 1901 to 927 in 1991.
- Parliament enacted the PNDT Act, 1994 comprehensively defining various
terms, prohibiting the misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques to detect
the sex of the foetus before or after conception and prescribing penalties.
Q. Which state became first to ban pre-natal sex determination?
In 1988, the State of Maharashtra became the first in the country to ban
pre-natal sex determination through enacting the Maharashtra Regulation of
Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act.
Q. Pre-conception & Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act, 1994/
Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex
Selection) Act, 1994?
Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and
Prevention of Misuse) Act was enacted on September 20, 1994. This act came
into force in the year 1996.
The Act was amended in 2003 following a PIL filed in 2000
to improve regulation of technology capable of sex selection and to arrest
the decline in the child sex ratio as revealed by the Census 2001. With
effect from February 14, 2003, due to the amendments, the Act is known as
the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex
Selection) Act, 1994.
The main purpose of enacting the PC & PNDT (prohibition
of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 has been to ban the use of sex selection
techniques before or after conception. Prevent the misuse of pre-natal
diagnostic techniques for sex selective abortions and Regulate such
Q. Why amendment to the PNDT Act was done?
Amendments to the Act mainly covered:
bringing the technique of pre-conception sex selection
within the ambit of the Act,
Bringing the use of Ultrasound Machines within the
purview of the Act more explicitly,
Further empower the Central Supervisory Board for
monitoring the implementation of the Act,
Constitution of State level Supervisory Boards and a
multi-member State Appropriate Authority for better implementation,
More stringent punishments, Empowering the Appropriate
Authorities with the powers of the Civil Court for search, seizure and
sealing themachines/equipments/records of the violators, including sealing
the premises and commissioning of witnesses,
making mandatory the maintenance of proper records in
respect of the use of ultrasound machines and
Regulate the sale of ultrasound machines only to the
Q. What are the provisions of the PC & PNDT Act?
The Act has the following main provisions:
Registration: All bodies under the PC & PNDT Act,
1994, namely Genetic Counselling Centres, Genetic Laboratories or Genetic
Clinics cannot function unless registered. The requirement of registration
is mandatory whether the body is government, private, voluntary, honorary,
part-time, contractual or consultative. Registration of these bodies as a
centre and/or clinic can be done jointly or separately.
Prohibitions: The PC & PNDT Act, 1994 prohibits
sex selection before or after conception and misuse of pre-natal diagnostic
techniques for determination of the sex of the foetus as also advertisements
in relation to such techniques for detection or determination of sex. The
Act specifies punishments for violation of its provisions.
Implementation: The Act is implemented through the
following agencies -Central Supervisory Board (CSB); State Supervisory
Boards (SSBs) and Union Territory Supervisory Boards (UTSBs).
Maintenance & Preservation of Records: The Act and
Rules deal elaborately with the maintenance and preservation of proper
records. This has two advantages; i) From the point of view of the
centre/clinic if there is a complaint the records can prove their action to
be in accordance with the law and, ii) From the point of view of the
Implementing Authorities the records can help in establishing compliance
while non-maintenance itself can give rise to a cause of action indicating
probable misuse of diagnostic techniques.
Search, Seizure & Sealing Powers: When an
Appropriate Authority or any other authorized officer has reason to believe
that an offence has been committed under the Act, he may search any place
suspected to be conducting pre-natal diagnostic techniques. They are
empowered with the powers of Civil Court for search, seizure and sealing the
machines, equipments and records of the violators of law including sealing
of premises and commissioning of witnesses.
Q. What are the penalties under the PNDT Act?
Breach of any provision by the service provider: 3 years
imprisonment and/or a fine of Rs. 10,000/-;
For any subsequent offence: 5 years imprisonment and/or
fine of Rs. 50,000/ – (Section 23 (1));
Medical Professionals: AA will inform the State Medical
Council and recommend suspension of the offender’s registration if charges
are framed by the court and till the case is disposed off; removal of name
from the register for 5 years on 1st conviction and permanently in case of
subsequent breach (Section 23 (2));
Persons seeking to know the sex of the foetus (A woman
will be presumed to have been compelled by her husband and relatives):
Imprisonment extending up to 3 years and a fine of up to Rs. 50,000/-; For
subsequent offences: Imprisonment upto 5 years and or a fine of Rs.
1,00,000/- (Section 23 (3));
Persons connected with advertisement of sex selection/sex
determination services: Imprisonment up to 3 years and/or a fine of Rs.
10,000/- with additional fine of continuing contravention at the rate of Rs.
500/- per day (Section 22 (3));
Advertisement for the purpose of Section 22 (3) includes
any notice, circular, label, wrapper or any other document including
advertisement through internet or any other media in electronic or print
form and also includes visible representation made by means of any hoarding,
wall painting, signal, light, sound, smoke, gas, etc.;
Contravention of provisions of the PC & PNDT Act, 1994
for which no specific punishment is provided in the Act are punishable with
imprisonment up to 3 months and/or fine of Rs. 1,000/- with additional fine
of continuing contravention at the rate of Rs. 500/- per day (Section 25);
Such contraventions can be presumed to be the
non-maintenance of records, non- compliance with standards prescribed for
the maintenance of units, etc.
The offences under the Act are cognizable, non-bailable