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  India   Stop female infanticide: Supreme Court to states

Stop female infanticide: Supreme Court to states

Published : Nov 9, 2016, 6:01 am IST
Updated : Nov 9, 2016, 6:01 am IST

Observing that a female child is entitled to enjoy equal right that a male child is allowed to have, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre, all states and Union Territories to take steps to

Observing that a female child is entitled to enjoy equal right that a male child is allowed to have, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre, all states and Union Territories to take steps to prevent female infanticide.

Pointing out the provisions of the Pre-conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act and the Rules that prohibit identification of the foetus, the court asked the states to strictly implement the provisions and to bring to book those who violate the provisions.

 

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh said, “The constitutional identity of a female child can’t be mortgaged to any kind of social or other concept that has developed or is thought of. It does not allow any room for any kind of compromise. It only permits affirmative steps that are constitutionally postulated.

Be it clearly stated that when rights are conferred by the Constitution, it has to be understood that such rights are recognised regard being had to their naturalness and universalism. No one, let it be repeated, no one, endows any right to a female child or, for that matter, to a woman. The question of any kind of condescension or patronisation does not arise.”

 

Expressing its anguish, Justice Misra who wrote the judgment said “When a female foetus is destroyed through artificial means which is legally impermissible, the dignity of life of a woman to be born is extinguished. It corrodes the human values.”

The court wanted all the States and the Union Territories in India to maintain a centralized database of civil registration records from all registration units so that information can be made available from the website regarding the number of boys and girls being born; the information that shall be displayed on the website shall contain the birth information for each District, Municipality, Corporation or Gram Panchayat so that a visual comparison of boys and girls born can be immediately seen.

 

The bench directed the authorities concerned to meet regularly so that the provisions of the Act can be implemented in reality and the effectiveness of the legislation is felt and realized in the society. The Legislature has brought a complete code and it sub serves the constitutional purpose.

The Bench said “the perception of any individual or group or organization or system treating a woman with inequity, indignity, inequality or any kind of discrimination is constitutionally impermissible. The historical perception has to be given a prompt burial. Female foeticide is conceived by the society that definitely includes the parents because of unethical perception of life and nonchalant attitude towards law. The society that treats man and woman with equal dignity shows the reflections of a progressive and civilized society. To think that a woman should think what a man or a society wants her to think is tantamount to slaughtering her choice, and definitely a humiliating act.”

 

The bench added “When freedom of free choice is allowed within constitutional and statutory parameters, others cannot determine the norms as that would amount to acting in derogation of law. Decrease in the sex ratio is a sign of colossal calamity and it cannot be allowed to happen. Concrete steps have to be taken to increase the same so that invited social disasters do not befall on the society. The present generation is expected to be responsible to the posterity and not to take such steps to sterilize the birth rate in violation of law. The societal perception has to be metamorphosed having respect to legal postulates.”

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi