Female foeticide: minister promises criminal action against scanning centres

Health Minister Ramesh Kumar announced on Monday that criminal cases would be registered against illegal ultrasound scanning centres, in view of the rise in the number of cases of female foeticide. The deadline given for taking action is two weeks. The minister said government health officers had been directed to identify unauthorised scanning centres before January 24. Those officers who fail to take action would be suspended on January 25, he warned.

“We have taken a firm decision to close down those scanning centres which have not been registered with the Health department and are thus, illegally operating,” he said. Kumar said as per the law, doctors have to specify in the prescribed form-F the reasons for which the scanning has to be done. The radiologist who conducts the test should also fill the form. But this rule is not followed in many centres, he said.

The law also permits criminal action against gynaecologists and radiologists who violate the Act. The district health officers have been directed to take action against doctors and radiologists also, he said. The officers have been directed to make a list of scanning centres in every district and the number of pregnant women scanned. In addition, they have to find whether sex determination tests have been conducted. The details have to be submitted to the Health department every month.

When the minister’s attention was drawn to charges against Congress leader C M Ibrahim, that he got his daughter’s foetus aborted forcibly, the minister said, “It is a personal case. The government is concerned about the poor families and not the rich.”
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