Context: In the backdrop of a notification of the Health Ministry which sought to defer/suspend certain provisions under the PC&PNDT Rules 1996, speculations became rife among a section of media regarding suspension of the said Act itself.
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- Later the MoHFW clarified that it has not suspended the PC&PNDT Act.
- The Rules that were deferred till June 30, 2020, by MoHFW were related to
- Application for renewal of registration if it was due in the lockdown period.
- Submission of reports by diagnostics centres with a sunset clause of 5th day of the following month
- Submission of quarterly progress report (QPR) by the States/UTs.
- MoHFW reiterated that each Ultrasound clinic, Genetic Counselling centre, Genetic Laboratory, Genetic Clinicand Imaging Centre would have to maintain all the mandatory records on a day to day basis, as prescribed under the Law.
- There is no exemption (to the diagnostic centres) from compliance to the provisions of the PC&PNDT Act.
Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
- The MTP Act 1971 was enacted to regulate abortion practices in India
Termination of pregnancy
- The MTP Act, 1971 allows termination of pregnancies under two categories:
- For pregnancy upto 12 weeks: It requires consent of the bearing women aged 18 or above (in the case of minors or mentally ill women, it requires the consent of the legal guardian). It also requires the opinion of a Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP).
- For 12-20 weeks of pregnancy: Consent requirement is same as above. However, in this case, the opinion of two Registered Medical Practitioners is required.
- Under the MTP Act 1971, the pregnancy can be terminated at any Government Hospital. However, an amendment to the MTP Act in 2002 provided for abortion at any registered private hospital which require the permision of a duly constituted District Level Committee.
Grounds of Termination of Pregnancy
- The grounds on which pregnancy can be terminated is also exclusively specified as:
- When continuation of pregnancy is a grave threat to the very life of the mother or has the potential to cause serious physical or mental injury ( e.g. on account of rape) to her health,
- When there is substantial risk to the life of the to-be-born-baby or it can have serious physical and mental abnormalities and
- When pregnancy is the result of failure of contraceptives
- A Medical Board duly constituted is to diagnose foetal abnormalities.
Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act,1994
It was enacted in 1994 and amended in 2003, to arm the state to wage a war against the pernicious practice of sex selection before or after conception.
- The main purpose of enacting the act is to ban the use of sex selection techniques before or after conception and prevent the misuse of prenatal diagnostic technique for sex selective abortion.
- Offences under this act include
- Conducting or helping in the conduct of prenatal diagnostic technique in the unregistered units.
- Sex selection on a man or woman, conducting PNDT test for any purpose other than the one mentioned in the act.
- Sale, distribution, supply, renting etc. of any ultrasound machine or any other equipment capable of detecting sex of the foetus.
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