'Docs convicted under PCPNDT to be suspended from practising'

Tightening the noose around erring gynaecologists and radiologists, the Bombay High Court has said any such doctor convicted under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act will be suspended from practising till their plea is heard and decided by an appellate court.

Earlier, doctors would continue to practise even after being held guilty by a lower court.

Justice S C Dharamadhikari recently issued an order directing the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) to suspend the licences of such doctors until their appeal is heard and decided by appellate courts and they are absolved of the charges.

"The high court in its order has said if a doctor is convicted by a lower court for offences under the PCPNDT Act, then the medical council should suspend his license immediately and not wait to conduct an independent inquiry against the doctor," advocate Amit Karkhanis, appearing for the MMC, said.

The order was passed while hearing a petition filed by a Solapur-based doctor, Pradipchandra Gandhi, challenging his suspension by the Council. Gandhi had claimed that a sessions court had stayed his conviction awarded by a magistrate's court and hence his suspension is not valid.

Justice Dharmadhikari, however, held that under Section 23 (2) of the PCPNDT Act, the name of the medical practitioner accused under the Act has to be reported to the concerned state medical council for initiating necessary action, which includes suspension of registration. This is applicable till the case is disposed of by the appellant court.

In case of conviction, the doctor's name should be removed from the Council for five years for the first offence and permanently for subsequent illegal acts.

Gandhi was found guilty under the PCPNDT Act due to discrepancies in filling of Form F in his clinic.

Under the PCPNDT Act, radiologists and gynaecologists have to maintain records including form F, which mandates for a pregnant woman to declare that she does not want to know the sex of foetus and for the doctor to declare that while scanning the sex was not disclosed.

Justice Dharmadhikari refused to quash and set aside the medical council's decision to suspend Gandhi's license.

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