The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has expressed deep concern at the manner in which sonologists and radiologists in Pune have resorted to a three-day strike to defend one of their colleagues convicted of having flouted the PCPNDT Act. A similar strike was resorted to a few months ago when doctors from a well known corporate hospital faced similar charges.
“It is unfortunate that the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA-which is spearheading the agitation) and other professional organisations of doctors which have lent support to it, have never openly named those within their fraternity who are indulging in malpractices leading to sex selection, “ Kiran Moghe, national secretary of AIDWA, lashed out in a statement issued here.
“The demand being made by the striking doctors to amend the Act so as to give graded punishments for so called “minor” and “major “ offences is misleading. Their insistence that only those caught “red-handed” through a “decoy” case are the real culprits and liable for stringent punishment, and others who do not keep proper records should be let off with lighter punishments is untenable and based on an erroneous understanding of the Act and its provisions.
The filling of the “F” Form, about which doctors are presumably agitated, is an integral and mandatory part of the implementation of the PCPNDT Act,” Moghe added.
“In fact, the “F” Form was designed so that it would act as a pointer, and is to be read with several other records that are available as corroborative evidence of possible malpractices. It is the lack of proper documentation, especially the “F” Form that helps to confirm suspicions of illegal activity. To treat irregularities in the maintenance of the “F” Form as a minor offence is to take away the teeth of the Act. That is precisely what the striking doctors appear to be aiming at,” the AIDWA leader alleged.
The association has also appealed that any harassment and corrupt practices by the implementing authorities, at any level, whether it is the PMC or the state government, be immediately brought to the attention of the highest authorities including the Anti-Corruption Bureau so that action can be taken against them.
Radiologists give six-week notice to govt to amend PCPNDT Act
On their part, the radiologists have given six weeks time to the government to amend the PCPNDT Act and change
the stringent provisions for “clerical” and “trivial” lapses while maintaining records of patients. If the government fails to respond within the stipulated time, radiologists and sonologists would be forced to go on an indefinite strike and also approach the judiciary by filing a writ petition, Dr AB Kelkar, advisory member of IRIA, Pune chapter, told The Indian Express.
On Wednesday, the agitating doctors submitted a memorandum of their demands to Kunal Kumar, commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation. Earlier, several medical and doctors’ associations and political parties extended
support to the protests. Doctors, however, maintained that they were against the practice of sex determination and female foeticide.
“We are in support of harsh punishment for those involved in illegal sex determination and would like to help the government to uproot this menace from society,” Dr. Viren Kulkarni, President, IRIA Pune Chapter, said.
“However, occasional lapses and trivial clerical mistakes which take place while filling the required forms and minor procedural lapses should not invite disproportionately harsh punishments like imprisonment and suspension of registration,” Kulkarni added.