Fight against female foeticide gets a boost

India has been dragging its feet to combat female foeticide. Even though a legislation has been in place since 1994, making sex determination of foetuses illegal, it took 12 years to get its first conviction.

A court in Faridabad, an industrial town near New Delhi, found Dr Anil Samaniya guilty of carrying out tests on pregnant women at his ultrasound clinic for years.

Samaniya’s clinic was first raided in October 2001 and a case was registered against him and his medical assistant.

After nearly five years of legal battle, the court sentenced Samaniya and the assistant to two years imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 55,000. IBN

Better late than never though; the government has shown some signs of being proactive. They used a sting operation to collect audio visual evidence that nailed the accused:

Government officials sent in three pregnant women as decoy patients to find out if the clinic would carry out abortions based on sex selection.

Audio and video evidence showed the doctor telling one woman that tests had revealed that she was carrying a “female foetus and it would be taken care of”. BBC

If only this could be replicated in other parts of the nation. But it wasn’t an easy task for the prosecutors(even though they had audio visual evidence)

“It wasn’t easy we had to face a lot of problems, we did not have money, the prosecutor kept changing,” said Dr Rekha Mishra, in charge of checking female foeticide.

Her former colleague on the team Paul Mendiratta said, “till yesterday we’ve had pressure to drop the case from not just doctors but politicians as well”.

During the last five years most of Mishra’s team members have retired or been transferred but she pursued the case. NDTV

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