Doctor Mitu Khurana was the first woman to wage a legal war against female foeticide under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994. But her decade-long war was cut short by the Supreme Court within minutes.
Khurana, a proud mother of twin girls, was the first woman to file a case under the PNDT Act for being subjected to pre-natal sex determination test while, she claims, being heavily sedated and without her consent.
On 16 September, the Supreme Court dismissed Khurana’s appeal against a Delhi High Court ruling in a manner which can be termed as “grossly erroneous at best”, said advocate Indira Unninayar, who represented Khurana.
Sex Determination Test Disguised as Routine Ultra-sound
In 2005, while she was pregnant, Khurana’s in-laws reportedly harassed her to get the pregnancy terminated, and even fed her food she was allergic to. Her in-laws knew the twins were girls because a sex determination test disguised as a routine ultra-sound test was conducted on her while she was sedated, Khurana says.
It was only in 2008 that she learnt about the test and approached various authorities until she had to put the case in front of a magistrate in the trial court. The doctors involved were also put under the scanner.
The doctors allegedly involved – Dr Harsh Mahajan of Mahajan Imaging, and Dr Nitin Seth, the radiologist at Jaipur Golden Hospital – challenged the claims in the Delhi High Court.
When the case reached the apex court, it met with a swift and brutal end. Ironically, in the High Court, the doctors tried to evade the provisions of the PNDT Act by admitting in that their facility was unregistered.
The case raises serious questions about the effective implementation of the PNDT Act.
(With IANS inputs)