The state government has appointed 68 special public prosecutors across the state to conduct trials in illegal sex determination cases.
Such cases were being hampered and delayed owing to unavailability of effective prosecutors. Government pleaders said the appointments would result in speedy trials of the cases and increase the conviction rate.
Pune district has got two special public prosecutors to handle such cases — Advocates Supriya More-Joshi and Rajendra Suryavanshi. “At present, the cases remain neglected as the authorities that file them do not have effective prosecutors to conduct trials. The special public prosecutors appointed in Pune have more than 15 years of experience and are accountable to the government. This will help in bringing the offenders to book,” said Balasaheb Khopade, an Assistant Public Prosecutor with Pune District and Sessions Court.
Legal experts say that the ambiguity in the Act is affecting the appointment of a effective prosecution lawyer in such cases, thus resulting in acquittals.
“There are many ambiguities in the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act. On one hand, a section of the Act says that illegal sex determination is a cognizable and non-bailable offence. On the other hand, any person who notices that the PCPNDT Act is being violated at a clinic can’t register a complaint. It has to be a competent authority such as a health officer of the municipal corporation or a resident doctor with a government hospital. This makes it a complicated process,” said a lawyer, who did not wish to be named.
In such circumstances, the PMC has trouble running these cases as the lawyers with them are civil advocates who are not competent enough to take up criminal cases, legal experts pointed out. “Now, the cases will be expedited.”
“There are over 20 cases that are in various courts in the district,” said Suryavanshi. A magisterial court had sentenced a city-based doctor to six months in jail for violating the the PCPNDT Act and not submitting monthly records. Dr Vinit Mahajan of Chikitsa Diagnostics Centre in Baner was also fined Rs 8,500.