Stating that the “female foeticide is destruction of woman of future…female has a multi-facet role in society,” the Punjab and Haryana High Court have dismissed the anticipatory bail of an accused booked in a case of alleged determination of foetus under the Prohibition of Sex Selection Act, 1994.
The accused Hassan Mohammad, was booked by the Haryana Police under Sections 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 420 (cheating) of IPC and Sections 4, 5, 6, 23 and 29 of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994, on September 29, 2020. As per Police, a decoy customer was deployed to get an ultra sound done, for determining sex of foetus. Payment was made through marked currency notes. The petitioner dramatised conducting of ultra sound of decoy customer and played a pre-recorded video on the LCD to show that ultra sound was being conducted. In the raid, LCD and the equipment for playing videos along with marked currency notes were seized.
Hassan’s counsel pleaded that there was not even a single complaint by any one. Moreover as no ultra sound machine was recovered from the premises, the provisions of the Act will not apply.
The state counsel, however, opposed the plea for anticipatory bail, stating that custody of accused is necessary as number of people have been defrauded.
The bench of Justice Avneesh Jhingan, after hearing the arguments held, “Determination of sex of the foetus is a malice which is affecting the society day in and day out. The desire to have a male child is an open secret. It has affected the gender ratio of the society. Considering disdainful attitude of the society to female child and use of diagnostic equipment for female foeticide Act was enacted to curb the pre-natal sex determination. Despite the specific legislation the menace of sex based destruction of foetus continues to plague the society. It is classic case of misuse of gift of development of technology”.
“The Constitution guarantees equality to genders but pre-natal sex determination deprives a female foetus to come to this world. In a civilized society, the sex of foetus cannot be a determining factor for having lease of life to see this world, if permitted the consequences would be devastating, the civilization itself would be endangered. To put in other words termination of female foeticide is destruction of woman of future. There cannot be a dispute on the fact that female has multi-facet role in society,” said Justice Jhingan.
Regarding contention of the petitioner that there was no complaint against him, the bench held that it holds no water. “The person who is in active participation against an enactment, in other words is a party to the illegal act, is not expected to come forward to make a police complaint. The persons who were being fleeced probably would not be aware that in the name of determination of sex they were shown pre-recorded video.”
In the present case, albeit the petitioner was not conducting an ultra sound yet he had to give result of sex determination as he was charging for the same, his conduct would determine the fate of the foetus, held Justice Jhingan, while declining to grant bail plea to Hassan.
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