Female Foeticide in India
Female foeticide is one of the most deplorable social evils in India. It refers to the act of aborting a female fetus due to a preference for male children. This practice not only devalues women's lives but also leads to an unhealthy gender ratio. Let's delve into the details:
Legal Provisions to Combat Female Foeticide
Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (PCPNDT Act)
Prohibition of Sex Determination: This Act prohibits sex selection before or after conception and prevents the misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex determination.
Regulation of Diagnostic Techniques: The Act regulates the use of diagnostic techniques to ensure their use for legitimate medical purposes only.
Penalties: Severe penalties, including imprisonment, are imposed for violations of the Act.
Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP Act)
Regulation of Abortions: This Act regulates the conditions under which a pregnancy may be aborted, strictly prohibiting sex-selective abortion.
Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC)
Criminal Liabilities: Various sections of the IPC, such as 312 to 316, deal with causing miscarriage, and offenders may face punishment under these sections.
Landmark Judgments and Case Laws
CEHAT & Ors vs Union Of India: This case played a vital role in strengthening the implementation of the PCPNDT Act, leading to stricter enforcement.
Dr. Sabu George vs Union Of India: The Supreme Court emphasized regular inspections of diagnostic centers to ensure compliance with the laws related to female foeticide.
Challenges in Curbing Female Foeticide
Societal Norms and Gender Bias: Deep-rooted patriarchal norms and preference for male children continue to fuel female foeticide.
Ineffective Implementation of Laws: Despite strict legal provisions, enforcement often falls short, leading to violations.
Technological Misuse: The misuse of advanced technologies for illegal sex determination continues to be a concern.
Initiatives and Measures to Curb Female Foeticide
Government Schemes: Programs like 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' aim to change societal attitudes and improve the status of the girl child.
Public Awareness: Regular campaigns and educational initiatives are required to create awareness about the heinousness of female foeticide.
Engagement with Medical Professionals: The involvement of healthcare providers in promoting ethical practices and reporting violations is crucial.
Conclusion: Female Foeticide in India
Female foeticide is a grave and complex issue rooted in gender bias and cultural factors. The Indian legal framework has made significant strides in providing robust laws against female foeticide, such as the PCPNDT Act and MTP Act. Despite these provisions, challenges remain in enforcement and societal attitudes.
It requires a concerted effort from all sectors of society, including government, judiciary, healthcare providers, and the general public, to create awareness, ensure strict adherence to the law, and foster a change in mindsets to eradicate female foeticide from the Indian landscape.