Centre For Enquiry Into Health And Allied Themes (CEHAT) v. Union Of India & Others

Writ Petition (Civil) No. 301 of 2000
Download Judgment: English

In 1996, the government of India had passed the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1995 (the “PNDT Act”) which was aimed at preventing the misuse of sex determination technology to abort girl children before birth.  Female feticide had become an increasingly frequent practice in India despite the implementations of reforms that attempted to create awareness on the issue and restrict this practice.  Petitioner NGOs and experts brought suit, claiming that the Central Government and the State Governments had not been effectively implementing the provisions of the PNDT Act. Petitioners requested that the Court direct the Central and State Governments to implement the PNDT Act by appointing appropriate authorities, ensuring that the Central Supervisory Board meet every 6 months and banning all advertisements for pre-natal sex determination techniques.

After the initial filing of the petition, the Court had issued relevant directions to the Central Government, the Central Supervisory Board, State Governments and other appropriate authorities under the PNDT Act to ensure that the Act was effectively implemented.

The Court noted that despite such previous orders, certain States had not filed their required affidavits and the previous orders had not been complied with. The Court again expressed its dismay over the “total slackness by the Administration in implementing the Act.” The Court noted several areas of laxness and reiterated that its previous orders must be complied with. The Court further issued certain directions regarding various informational and appointment obligations of the Central Government, the Central Supervisory Board, and State Governments.

“It is an admitted fact that in Indian Society, discrimination against girl child still prevails, may be because of prevailing uncontrolled dowry system despite the Dowry Prohibition Act, as there is no change in the mind-set or also because of insufficient education and/or tradition of women being confined to household activities. Sex selection/sex determination further adds to this adversity.” Page 1

“Considering the amendment in the Act, in our view, it is the duty of the Union Government as well as the State Governments/UTs to implement the same as early as possible." Page 7

“In view of the various directions issued by this Court, as quoted above, no further directions are required except that the directions issued by this Court on 4th May, 2001, 7th November, 2001, 11th December, 2001 and 31st March, 2003 should be complied with.” Page 7