Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Petitioner against female foeticide booked, HC pulls up Haryana govt

- HT Correspond­ent letterschd@hindustant­imes.com

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday took exception of the fact that the petitioner who had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) against female foeticide was raided by authoritie­s and booked for violations under Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act in Gurgaon.

As the hearing began on Tuesday, the government told the court that the petitioner was a “habitual offender” and was booked under the PCPNDT Act in the past as well.

“The credential of the peti- tioner are not good and he is an evil for the society,” the court was told, with the government further stating that after the PIL was filed, he was caught red handed by the administra­tion carrying out sex determinat­ion test on a pregnant woman.

At this the petitioner doctor, Rajeev Bhatia, contended that a whistleblo­wer was being targeted and he had been framed by the administra­tion. He also supplied a blank slip issued by a doctor of general Hospital, Gurgoan, exposing the claims of the administra­tion. The division bench of justice SK Mittal and justice HS Sidhu asked the government as how the petitioner was targeted. “We will take it adversely. How you have conducted this raid? How many such raids you have conducted in other places?” the high court bench asked the government.

The government counsel, on the other hand, told the court that besides Bhatia’s clinic, two other raids were also conducted. As of slips, it might have been inadverten­tly issued during the peak hour at OPD as there was huge load of the patients. Such slips are issued for general investigat­ions and not for ultrasound of pregnant women, the court was told.

However, the high court warned the administra­tion not to indulge in such activities. “I will order FIRs against all those involved. It appears some gang is operating here. A person has come to us and you have registered FIR against him. Provide me the list of people who all raided (his) premises,” the high court said, seeking government response on petitioner’s allegation­s by July 28.

The petition was filed by Bhatia in May seeking initiation of criminal proceeding­s against the institutes and doctors indulging in female foeticide. He had also sought direction to director general health services to initiate criminal cases against doctors and institutes who were violating the PCPNDT Act.

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