The Indian Medical Association (IMA) at a meeting on Sunday unanimously decided to protest the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, along with a demand for the Central government to amend the “draconian law that has left several doctors confused”.
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On Wednesday, all sonography machines in Mumbai will remain shut and doctors registered with the Maharashtra branch of IMA will wear a black band to show their opposition to the law. The IMA now proposes to have a unique identification number for each expectant mother with a central online database to track them. The code will also look after the tests she has undergone and keep a tab on suspicious abortions or female premature deliveries.
Dr Jayesh Lele, IMA’s president elect for Maharashtra, said, “We have recently come across several cases where doctors are being investigated for flouting rules under PCPNDT Act. Even those committing small clerical errors are under the scanner and their sonography machines are sealed. The Medical Council of India (MCI) Act, 1956, and the PCPNDT Act have certain differences which leaves the doctors confused. Most have been booked under those particular clauses.”
From Maharashtra, 450 doctors are facing investigations for flouting PCPNDT Act, including a handful from Mumbai, said Dr Shiv Kumar Utture, member of the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC).
Dr Kishor Taori, president of MMC, said, “Even we have realised that similar clauses under both the Acts are contradictory. Either MCI needs to bring changes or PCPNDT should be amended,” he said.
“Until doctors are guilty of sex determination, they must not be harassed for clerical errors,” Lele said.