Shah Rukh Khan poses for a family picture at his Mumbai home on Id. (From left) Daughter Suhana, sister Shehnaz, wife Gauri and older son Aryan were in the frame but the youngest, AbRam, was not. “He is too small to understand it (Id). It’s a special and happy moment,” Shah Rukh said. (Fotocorp)
Mumbai, Aug. 9: A sex determination case has been filed against Shah Rukh Khan and his wife Gauri in a Mumbai court, by a social activist who had earlier approached the state’s health ministry seeking action against the actor.
Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Uday Padwad has scheduled the matter for verification on September 12 and issued notices to the couple, civic health officials and other respondents.
“It’s saddening what is happening. I hope I am not called again and again personally... it is sad,” said Shah Rukh, whose third child was born to a surrogate mother recently.
Varsha Deshpande, an activist against female foeticide and a member of the national monitoring committee for the implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, has based her complaint on media reports.
The reports, which appeared in June, had said Shah Rukh and Gauri were going to have a baby boy through a surrogate mother.
Several activists seized upon the report to question how the sex of the unborn baby was known.
The actor has since explained that his son, who has been named AbRam, had already been born when the reports came out and denied that they had opted for a sex determination test. The baby is thought to have been born in May.
Deshpande filed her first complaint on June 17, demanding a thorough probe into news reports that the couple’s third child would be born through surrogacy and was a boy. The same day, a civic team went to Mannat to record Shah Rukh’s statement, but the actor was not available.
The activist filed a second complaint on June 26 demanding that the BMC launch a thorough investigation into all genetic laboratories, genetic clinics and genetic counselling centres, including the IVF Centre run by Jaslok Hospital, for allegedly flouting the provisions of the PCPNDT Act.
She had met the municipal authorities and state chief secretary Jayant Banthia with 17 other activists and warned that if no action was taken, she would not hesitate to move court.
Shah Rukh has subsequently said that he had remained silent through the controversy because the family was at that point dealing with the baby’s health issues. The child was born prematurely and needed medical care. “I am very happy that I am blessed by such a beautiful child (AbRam). We pray and hope about his good health,” the actor said today.
Deshpande has clearly ignored the actor’s explanations.
“Under the PCPNDT Act, this is a cognisable, non-bailable criminal offence in which evidence can be tampered with. We have waited for two months for the BMC and the state government to conduct an investigation into this surrogacy case. But the state has taken a casual approach. The state appears to be helping Shah Rukh Khan instead of investigating the matter as the law mandates. We want to know if the actor followed the law in the genetic procedure, not just the sex selection test process,” Deshpande said.
She has also named as respondents the municipal commissioner, the executive health officer of the civic body, the IVF expert at Jaslok Hospital, Dr Firuza Parikh, the hospital’s directors, and the competent authority in the state government in charge of implementing the sex determination ban.
Dr Parikh and Jaslok Hospital have denied they had anything to do with Shah Rukh’s baby.
“I feel sex determination test is redundant. I don’t know how we are going to prove it. Maybe then we will have to increase our battery of lawyers,” Shah Rukh told reporters here.