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High Court refuses relief to doctor on complaint under PCPNDT Act

Inaccuracies and irregularities in maintenance of records and forms as mandated under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act amounts to offence, Bombay High Court held while refusing to grant relief to a doctor.

The Aurangabad bench of the High Court was hearing a petition filed by Dr Dattatray Kanade, who owns Kanade Maternity Home in Ahmednagar, seeking to quash a complaint filed against him under the PCPNDT Act. According to the complaint filed in 2007, there were various discrepancies in the maintenance of hospital records and Form F, which is filled by the hospital along with the signature of the pregnant woman stating that sex determination of the foetus was not carried out during sonography.

The petitioner’s lawyer R S Shinde argued that no offence under the PCPNDT Act is made out as there were only irregularities and not illegalities. Justice A I S Cheema, however, observed that even deficiencies and inaccuracies in the maintenance of records and Form F attract criminal charges under the PCPNDT Act. “It is clear that it would be premature to accept explanations regarding inaccuracies or deficiencies before trial takes place. It is further apparent that if the lapse is insignificant then the benefit would go to the accused at the time of sentence but claiming that deficiencies in Form F and keeping records are insignificant cannot be reason to claim that no offence is there and to discharge the accused,” Justice Cheema said recently.

“This court cannot, before holding of trial, decide whether or not the records have been kept properly or Form F has been properly filled or not and if the deficiencies pointed out are serious or insignificant. It would be prejudging the matter,” the court held. “In such serious matters, it would be inappropriate to interfere when a prima facie case is made out,” Justice Cheema said while dismissing the petition.

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