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HC fiat on rogue clinics

Jharkhand High Court has directed the state government to crack down on illegal ultrasound centres by cancelling their registration and revoking the licence of doctors manning them.

A division bench of Chief Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Amitav Kumar Gupta, which was hearing a PIL initiated suo motu on the basis of a newspaper report on female foeticide, said the state should follow guidelines framed by Supreme Court to curb the illegal practice of disclosing the sex of a child before birth.

The bench said the state should also take steps to initiate punitive action against erring doctors and ultrasound centres and also report the matter to the Medical Council of India so that it can take appropriate action against rogue doctors.

The government should seize equipments of centres found to violate provisions of the Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act 1994, the judges said.

The court also ordered the Union and state governments to constitute a committee to monitor operations of ultrasound centres. The committee, it added, should meet once in six months and monitor the activities of ultrasound centres.

Based on the Supreme Courtís recommendations, the court said it was imperative for all ultrasound centres to furnish reports before the civil surgeon of each district.

The high court also observed that a special cell be formed to monitor cases already filed against doctors and centres for violating the sex selection act so that the cases could be disposed of quickly.