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Female Child Has Equal Rights Like Boys: SC

A file image of the Supreme Court of India. (Photo Credit: PTI)

A file image of the Supreme Court of India. (Photo Credit: PTI)

"Female child is entitled to enjoy equal rights that a male child is allowed to have," the Supreme Court observed on Tuesday, passing a slew of directions, including maintinence of an all-India database of new borns to curb female foeticide.

New Delhi: "Female child is entitled to enjoy equal rights that a male child is allowed to have," the Supreme Court observed on Tuesday, passing a slew of directions, including maintinence of an all-India database of new borns to curb female foeticide.

The apex court said the menace of female foeticide corrodes human values and decreases the sex ratio, which is a sign of "colossal calamity" that cannot be allowed to happen.

The bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said the constitutional identity of a girl child "cannot be mortgaged to any kind of social or other concept that has developed or is thought of".

Holding that there is no room for any kind of compromise, the bench also, comprising Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, said the Constitution only permits affirmative steps and "the question of any kind of condescension or patronisation does not arise".

The bench passed 16 directions to ensure immediate and effective implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act and the Rules framed thereunder.

"All the States and the Union Territories in India shall maintain a centralised 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 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 said in its 43-page verdict.

The apex court also directed that the states and UTs which do not have any incentive schemes for the girl child shall frame the same.

"If there has been violation of any of the provisions of the Act or the Rules, proper action has to be taken by the authorities under the Act so that the legally inapposite acts are immediately curbed," the bench said, adding that the courts dealing with such complaints "shall be fast tracked and the concerned High Courts shall issue appropriate directions".

It said that courts dealing with such complaints shall hear these matters "in promptitude and submit the quarterly report to the High Courts through the concerned Sessions and District Judge".

The apex court requested the Chief Justices of all the

High Courts to constitute a Committee of three judges to periodically oversee the progress of these cases.

"The judicial officers who are to deal with these cases under the Act shall be periodically imparted training in the Judicial Academies or Training Institutes, as the case may be, so that they can be sensitive and develop the requisite sensitivity as projected in the objects and reasons of the Act and its various provisions and in view of the need of the society," the bench said.

It directed the authorities concerned to carry out awareness campaigns on this issue and asked the State Legal Services Authorities to give emphasis on these campaigns.

"The Union of India and the States shall see to it that appropriate directions are issued to the authorities of All India Radio and Doordarshan functioning in various States to give wide publicity pertaining to the saving of the girl child and the grave dangers the society shall face because of female foeticide," the bench said.

Dealing with the issue of female foeticide, the apex court observed that "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 legislature has brought a complete code and it subserves the constitutional purpose."

"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 tantamounts to slaughtering her choice and definitely a humiliating act," it said.

The court said that decline in sex ratio is a sign of colossal calamity and it cannot be allowed to happen and concrete steps need to be taken to increase it.

"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," it said, adding that the "dropping of sex ratio still remains a social affliction and a disease".

Earlier, the apex court had passed a number of directions on the issue including the need to form a statutory board for strict implementation of law prohibiting sex determination as well as setting up of a State Board.

The court passed the verdict while disposing of a PIL by NGO Voluntary Health Association of Punjab urging it to intervene in the matter in view of decreasing number of girls-boys ratio in the country.

first published:November 08, 2016, 21:11 IST