Indian Written Media on Dr Mitu

Lack of Conviction. That’s What’s Skewing the Sex Ratio

Out of a thousand-odd cases filed against illegal gender tests, only 83 have found doctors guilty. Shonali Ghosal reports
Silent law Illegal sex detemination tests thrive while the girl child bears the brunt

NOT A second daughter,” was Jaya Prasad’s reaction when the midwife predicted a baby girl just by looking at his wife Guddi Devi’s gait. He wanted a sex determination test to confirm the gender of the yet-to-beborn child. Suddenly, Devi felt as if she’d become one of the women she’d been seeking out near her village in Morena, Madhya Pradesh, for the last three years, to save female foetuses.

Devi refused the test and convinced her husband through the NGO she works with. “We told him that both the doctors and the patients involved could be jailed,” says NGO member Jitender. Luckily, Prasad accepted her decision. Her younger daughter is now two years old, and Devi continues to work for women’s rights.

Unfortunately, this is a rare case. Sex determination, often the precursor to abortion and foeticide, is rampant not because of lax laws but poor implementation. The Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT Act) was passed in September 1994 “for regulation and prevention of misuse of diagnostic techniques.” More than 17 years on, TEHELKA found that the Act, though strong on paper, serves as no deterrent in reality.

Mitu Khurana’s story is proof enough. Hers is an urban nightmare. Mitu, a Delhi paediatrician, was tricked into sex determination by her doctor husband. She claims her in-laws fed her cake knowing that she was allergic to egg, after which she had to be hospitalised. The reports say that the doctor recommended an ultrasound of her kidney. “He actually determined that I was carrying twin girls. After that incident, my in-laws suddenly wanted me to have an abortion,” she says. This was in 2005. Mitu refused, moved to her parents’ house and filed a case against her husband under the PCPNDT Act. “An official told me I’m wasting my youth and my life,” she recalls. “Just give him a son if he wants one, they said.” Though her case was highlighted by the media, no action has been taken. “If I, a doctor, am being bullied, what will happen to an uneducated woman? How much can we tolerate?” she adds.
In 1992, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen estimated that 37 million women had already ‘gone missing’ in India till 1986. Contrast that with the total number of ongoing cases under PCPNDT in the country (till September 2011) — a mere 1,040. No wonder that 28 of the 35 States and Union Territories have 0 convictions (till September 2011). Even the ones that secured convictions stand dismaly at: 
Chandigarh – 1,
Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat – 4 each, 
Maharashtra – 18, 
Punjab – 23, 
Haryana – 29.

Number of Convictions
Delhi 4
Punjab 23
Haryana 29
Chandigarh 1 
Rajasthan 4 
Gujarat 4 
Maharashtra 18
Total number of convictions under the PNDT Act till September 2011 (* The remaining 28 states and union territories had either zero convictions or zero cases)

India’s child sex ratio (0-6 years) has declined from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and now to the lowest since independence: 914 females per 1,000 males in 2011. But the total number of ultrasound machines seized/sealed (till September 2011) stands at just 869. The individual figures for states are more disturbing. Not a single ultrasound machine has been sealed or seized in Delhi, one of three worst states (other two being Punjab and Haryana) in the 2011 Census, with a child sex ratio of 866 girls per 1,000 boys in 2011. Why does sex determination still thrive?
“Because it’s profitable for the medical profession and therefore propagated by it,” says health activist Dr Sabu George, one of the movers of the public interest petition which led to the passing of the PCPNDT Act. Also a member of the National Inspection and Monitoring Committee (NIMC), constituted under the Supreme Court’s orders, George says that mutual secrecy allows the doctor to get away. “The client is conniving with the doctor, so it’s obviously not going to get reported. For her, it may be an individual choice or family pressure but for the doctor, it’s purely about profits,” he says.
Sex determination is profitable for the medical profession and therefore propagated by it
The greed factor is real. “An ultrasound test costs about Rs 400 but a doctor can charge Rs 1,500-10,000 depending on demand,” says UP-based gynaecologist and Central Supervisory Board member, Dr Neelam Singh.
BEYOND THIS, it’s the lack of government will, says Asha Sikarwar, an NIMC member who works with the Madhya Pradeshbased Jan Mukti Sangathan. She cites the example of two clinics in Gwalior and Bhopal that were found conducting sex determination tests on 22-23 December 2011. There is no case in court and NIMC lacks the powers to file one directly.
Activist-lawyer Varsha Deshpande (also an NIMC member) say that PNDT is the strongest law and that it’s good there is a system where the District Magistrate or the State Supervisory Board (both designated authorities to implement PNDT) has to file a case. “I can’t file a case in, say, Odisha from here,” she says. Deshpande, known for carrying out sting operations in various clinics in Maharashtra, feels that the real problem is administrative and judicial accountability. “The health department is the most corrupt next to revenue but they aren’t held accountable. Similarly, when a public prosecutor loses a case, nobody questions him/her. Maharashtra has lost 27 cases simply because the concerned officials didn’t turn up,” she fumes.
District officials are often blamed for the lax implementation of the PNDT Act. But Arvind Kumar, former Hyderabad Collector, says that there’s nothing too technical or time-consuming for a District Magistrate. “It’s ignorance, lack of awareness. There’s no monitoring at the State level,” he says. In 2005, he asked 394 ultrasound scan centres for their Form F records, which it is mandatory to maintain. He issued notices to 80 percent of the clinics and seized 154 machines, of which 71 were released after a fine. The result: “Hyderabad, which had the worst sex ratio in Andhra Pradesh in the 1991 Census, has emerged as the 3rd best in the 2011 provisional Census,” he says.
Even when NIMC members or activists get clinics sealed, the local authorities often reverse the action, admits Anuradha Gupta, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health of Family Welfare. “States need to be more aware of their role. When ultrasound machines are unregistered, authorities often let them off with a fine, which is not permissible. The Act makes no distinction between minor and major offence. Not keeping records is as severe as sex selection and equally punishable with both imprisonment and fine,” she says.
The data for June-December 2011 does show improvement: 460 clinics have been sealed and 30 convictions secured in that period but we have a long way to go.
The Act, last amended in 2003, is being reviewed. Close monitoring of the sale of second-hand or re-assembled machines and a ban on portable ultrasounds, which has been vetted by the Law Ministry, are expected to come into force soon. “Portable machines are the easiest way to bring sex determination to people. Why should they be portable? Are fractures diagnosed at road accident sites?” asks Anuradha Vemuri, Director of the PNDT Division.
While technology keeps progressing at a rapid pace, society at large seems stuck in a feudal age. And the girl child continues to go missing.
Shonali Ghosal is a Correspondent with Tehelka.

“Not without my daughters”

May 18, 2010 - 04:45

Even before they were born, paediatrician, Dr Mitu Khurana, had to fight hard to save her twin daughters from death. She talks to Purabi Shridhar about her battle against her husband, her in-laws and female foeticide 

“I married Dr Kamal Khurana, an orthopaedician in Delhi, in November 2004. It was an arranged match. Though engaged for nine months, we hardly met, as his family claimed to be conservative. Strangely, soon after the engagement his sisters sent me an SMS saying she hated me. He said she was depressed and everything would be fine. If only I’d known what was in store for me.”

‘They told me to abort’

“In January 2005, I became pregnant. An ultrasound in the sixth week showed I was carrying twins. My husband, at first, was elated, but then my mother-in-law started pressurising me for a sex determination test and he went along with her. I refused, but I hadn’t bargained for their deception.

“In April, I was offered some cake, which was apparently eggless. I am strongly allergic to eggs and they knew it. I ate it and got very sick. I passed the night in pain and was taken to the Jaipur Golden Hospital only the next morning-this, even though I was undergoing antenatal check-ups at another hospital. My husband and mother-in-law came with me. Only 16 weeks pregnant, I was taken to the labour room. The gynaecologist advised a KUB (kidney, urethra and bladder) ultrasound, but the radiologist did a foetal ultrasound and advised me to leave. When I pointed out that no KUB had been done, he hurriedly did one.”

‘He pushed me down the stairs’
“The ultrasound showed the twins were girls. My husband and mother-in-law demanded I terminate the pregnancy. In fact, she insisted I abort one child in-utero. I was kept without food and water and incredible as it sounds, my husband demanded a DNA test as an astrologer had said that he would only father one son!

“Around the fourth month, my husband pushed me down a flight of stairs. I started bleeding and was locked in a room. They hoped I’d abort naturally. I managed to call my father in the morning, who told my husband to bring me to their place or he would get the police to do it. My husband gave in. I was prescribed complete bed rest and had to undergo multiple hospitalisations. My daughters were born on August 11, nearly two months premature.

“My in-laws didn’t visit us for nine months. My mother-in-law was sure the girls wouldn’t survive. And when they did, she wanted me to give one up for adoption. My sister agreed to adopt one and the adoption papers were drawn up, but I just couldn’t do it. My father then took a decision-if I wanted to go back I could, but he wouldn’t let me take the girls.”

‘She kicked the baby’

“While pregnant, I’d filed a police case saying I feared for my life and those of my unborn babies. When the girls were four months old, my husband came to take us, assuring us that all would be fine. Another lie! I was left to manage single-handedly. Tired and fed up, on the third day, I decided to go back to my parents’. I came out with one girl in my arms and the other strapped in a baby basket, which my mother-in-law kicked down the stairs. My daughter survived, thanks to the straps and blankets. Fearing for our lives, I filed a criminal case against my husband. He was summoned by the police, at which point, he gave a written assurance that there would be no torture and no forced prenatal sex determination tests in future.

“Two years later, my husband and I moved away, into a rented place, in the hope it would help. But the same night, he threw me out saying he wanted a divorce, so he could remarry and father a son. I called my uncle who lived nearby. We went to the police station, where they refused to file an FIR and made us sit for hours. It was when I threatened to go to the media that they gave in. No action was taken, so I went to the police commissioner who set up a vigilance committee. Nothing has come of it.”

‘The CDMO told me to try again for a son!’

“While shifting, I found the Jaipur Golden Hospital discharge papers and reports. I filed a complaint with the Health Minister and the National Commission for Women. On May 9,2008, I filed a complaint with the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (PNDT) Cell and an RTI application to follow up. In June, I got a reply saying the Central Monitoring Committee and the District Appropriate Authority had raided the hospital and found evidence of Form F-mandatory records clinics and hospitals have to keep of every woman who has undergone pre-natal diagnostic procedures as specified in the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, which prohibits sex selection.

“When I appeared before the District Appropriate Authority, the chief district medical officer (CDMO) actually advised me to reconcile with my husband, so I could get pregnant again and have a son! I was told that sealing ultrasound facilities at the hospital would hinder diagnosis of other patients. The enquiry committee report said no direct evidence of sex determination was found.

“Meeting the joint secretary of health and family welfare (central government) proved useless. I was told to file a case under the Domestic Violence Act. So I filed a private complaint under the PCPNDT Act against Jaipur Golden Hospital, the doctor, my husband and in-laws. But the authorities only registered a case against the hospital.

“I get threats saying I’ll be killed or my daughters kidnapped. I had to quit my job because of the pressure. But I will not withdraw the case! I fought to save my girls and I’m the first woman in Delhi to have filed a case under PCPNDT. I’m determined to see justice meted out.”

If you were her
Dr Mitu Khurana is determined to fight back. With strong parental support she is not giving in to pressure. If you have been pressured into undergoing a sex determination test, or know someone who has, here’s what you can do.

It is not your word against theirs
Bijayalaxmi Nanda, campaign coordinator, Campaign Against Pre-Birth Elimination of Females (CAPF), says, “The PCPNDT Act makes sex determination and sex selection a non-bailable offence. A victim can approach the designated authority, usually the District Collector or the Chief District Medical Officer.”

If you are unable to reach the appropriate authority, approach the PCPNDT cell of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the state government, the nearest police station or a women’s organisation like CAPF.

Kirti Singh, a women’s rights advocate, says, “The PCPNDT Act specifies authorities you can file complaints with. Do it immediately; follow it up and see that a case is filed.It then goes to a magistrate’s court for hearing.” Provide whatever evidence you have. “Do not think it’s your word against the culprit’s and nothing will come of it,” advises Kirti, “Your case will be taken up. There are lawyers’ bodies and organisations that will help if authorities don’t take any action.”

Challenge the track record
According to Kirthi Jayakumar of Fight-back, Chennai-an anti-gender violence organisation, “Do not give up. Instead, lobby for support. Take the help of the media and NGOs.” Kirthi admits that the implementation record for the PCPNDT Act is pathetic, and advises filing a case, directly appealing to the courts under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Go public
Sonali Khan, communications manager, Breakthrough, Delhi, thinks, “It’s not going to be easy for Mitu. She is taking on a big hospital, apart from her husband and in-laws. Every hospital has a huge sign against sex determination tests, which means we can’t ask for it and they are bound not to tell us. It is a punishable offence.”

Sonali suggests going public so more people know what’s happening and those putting insidious pressure will be warned. “She should approach human rights and women’s organisations, so she has more support than just from the family. She shouldn’t succumb to pressure and withdraw the case,” says Sonali.

Know your ultrasound

Can a pregnant woman avoid all medical examinations that may reveal the sex of the foetus? Unfortunately not, says Dr Juhee Jain, consultant gynaecologist, Fortis La Femme, Delhi, because at least two ultrasounds are crucial to determine the health and normality of the foetus. “If, during the ultrasound, the sex of the child is known, the person conducting the ultrasound should refuse to declare it. Sadly, that is not always so.”

As per the PCPNDT Act, Form F has to be filled out, stating the reasons for the ultrasound as well as the findings, and sent within a month to the authorities. “For the health of the unborn baby, refusing ultrasounds is inadvisable,” says Dr Juhee. “The only thing that can work is conscience-of the parents and of the person conducting the ultrasound.”


Central PNDT
Call: 01123063523

Campaign against Pre-birth Elimination of Females (CAPF)
Call: 9891443469

All India Democratic Women’s Association
15, Talkotara Road, New Delhi 
Call: 01123710476, 01123319566
Email: and

Lawyers Collective
Call: Mumbai-02222875482/83, 02222832779
Delhi-01124377101/2, 01124372237

Photography: Madhu Kapparath

“चाह कर भी वे मेरी बेटियों को मार नहीं पाएंगे”

20 NOVEMBER 2009 

♦ अनुपमा
Dr Meetu Khuranaमीतू खुराना। किसी कहानी या उपन्यास की काल्पनिक पात्र नहीं। पढ़ी-लिखी और देश की राजधानी में रहने वाली एक महिला का नाम। पेशे से पेडियाटि­शियन हैं। उनके पति डॉ कमल खुराना (आर्थोपेडिक सर्जन) रोहिणी में रहते हैं। पर आप सोच रहें होंगे, इसमें बताने जैसी क्‍या बात है? बात है। ध्यान से सुनिए। मीतू ने अपराध किया है। कानून की नज़र में नहीं। ससुराल वालों की नजर में। उन्होंने अपराध किया है बेटियों को जन्म देने का। उन्‍हें कोख में ही न मार डालने का। जन्म के बाद भी उनसे लगाव रखने का। इसकी वजह से उन्हें बार-बार घर से निकाला गया और आज वो अपने मायके में हैं। पति से अलगाव की हद तक अपनी नवजात बच्चियों की परवाह करने वाली नीतू वूमेन आफ सब्स्टांस हैं। सुनते हैं, उनकी कहानी, उन्हीं की जुबानी…

हर लड़की यह सोचती है कि उसकी शादी अच्छे घर में हो। पति उसे चाहनेवाला हो और एक सपनों का घर हो। जिसे वह सजाये-संवारे और एक खुशहाल परिवार बनाये। मैंने भी कुछ ऐसे ही ख्‍़वाब बुने थे। अभी-अभी तो उसे संजोना और बुनना शुरू ही किया था मैंने। पर कब सब कुछ बिखरना शुरू हुआ, पता ही नहीं चला। खैर… सीधी-सीधी बात बताती हूं। शादी नवंबर 2004 में डॉ कमल खुराना से हुई। कहने को तो अच्छा घर था, पर यहां आते ही मुझे दहेज के लिए प्रताड़ित किया जाने लगा। मैं यह सब जुल्म चुपचाप सहती रही कि चलो कुछ दिनों में सब ठीक हो जाएगा। पर ऐसा कुछ भी नहीं हुआ। शादी के दो महीने बाद ही यानी जनवरी 2005 में मैं गर्भवती हो गयी। गर्भ के साथ ही मेरे सपने भी आकार ले रहे थे। छठवें सप्‍ताह में मेरा अल्‍ट्रासाउंड हुआ और यह पता लगा कि मेरे गर्भ में एक नहीं बल्कि दो-दो ज़‍िंदगियां पल रही हैं। मेरा उत्साह दुगना हो गया। मैं बहुत खुश थी। परंतु मेरी सास मुझ पर सेक्‍स डिटर्मिनेशन करवाने के लिए दबाव डालने लगीं। मैंने इसके लिए मना कर दिया। ऐसा करने पर मुझे तरह-तरह से प्रताड़ित किया जाने लगा। इसमें मेरे पति की भूमिका भी कम नहीं थी। मेरा दाना-पानी बंद कर दिया गया और रोज़-रोज़ झगड़े होने लगे। मुझे जीवित रखने के लिए रात को मुझे एक बर्फी और एक गिलास पानी दिया जाता था। गर्भावस्था में ऐसी प्रताड़ना का दुख आप खुद समझ सकते हैं। इस मुश्किल घड़ी में भी मेरे मायके के लोग हमेशा मेरे साथ रहे। शायद इसी वजह से मैं आज जीवित भी हूं।
चलिए आगे का हाल बताती हूं। जब मैं गर्भ चयन के लिए प्रताड़ना के बाद भी राज़ी नहीं हुई तो इन लोगों ने एक तरकीब निकाली। यह जानते हुए कि मुझे अंडे से एलर्जी है, उन्होंने मुझे अंडेवाला केक खिलाया। मेरे बार-बार पूछने पर कि इसमें अंडा तो नहीं है, मुझसे कहा गया कि नहीं, यह अंडारहित केक है। केक खाते ही मेरी तबीयत बिगड़ने लगी। मुझमें एलर्जी के लक्षण नजर आने लगे। मझे पेट में दर्द, उल्टी व दस्त होने लगा। ऐसी हालत में मुझे रात भर अकेले ही छोड़ दिया गया। दूसरे दिन पति और सास मुझे अस्पताल ले गये। लेकिन वो अस्पताल नहीं था। वहां मेरा एंटी नेटल टेस्ट हुआ था। मुझे लेबर रूम में ले जाया गया। यहां पर गायनेकेलॉजिस्ट (स्त्री रोग विशेषज्ञ) ने मेरी जांच कर केयूबी (किडनी, यूरेटर, ब्लैडर) अल्‍ट्रासाउंड करने की सलाह दी। लेकिन वहां मौजूद रेडियोलॉजिस्ट ने सिर्फ मेरा फीटल अल्‍ट्रासाउंड किया और कहा कि अब आप जाइए। जब मैंने देखा और कहा कि गायनेकेलॉजिस्ट ने तो केयूबी अल्‍ट्रासाउंड के लिए कहा था, आपने किया नहीं, तो उसने कहा कि ठीक है आप लेट जाइए और उसके बाद उसने केयूबी किया।
इस घटना के बाद तो प्रताड़नाओं का दौर और भी बढ़ गया। मेरे पति व ससुराल वाले मुझे गर्भ गिराने (एमटीपी) के लिए ज़ोर देने लगे। मेरी सास ने तो मुझसे कई बार यह कहा कि यदि दोनों गर्भ नहीं गिरवा सकती, तो कम से कम एक को तो गर्भ में ही ख़त्म करवा लो। दबाव बनाने के लिए मेरा खाना-पीना बंद कर दिया गया। मेरे पति मुझसे अब दूरी बरतने लगे और एक दिन तो उन्होंने रात के 10 बजे मुझे यह कह कर घर से निकाल दिया कि जा अपने बाप के घर जा। जब मैंने उनसे आग्रह किया कि मुझे मेरा मोबाइल और अपने कार की चाभी ले लेने दीजिए, क्‍योंकि गर्भावस्था में मैं खड़ी नहीं रह पाऊंगी तो उन्होंने कहा कि इस घर की किसी चीज़ को हाथ लगाया तो थप्पड़ लगेगा… मेरे ससुर ने हस्तक्षेप किया और कहा कि इसे रात भर रहने दो, सुबह मैं इसके घर छोड़ दूंगा। उनके कहने पर मुझे रात भर रहने दिया गया। सास की दलील थी कि दो-दो लड़कियां घर के लिए बोझ बन जाएंगी, इसलिए मैं गर्भ गिरवा लूं। अगर दोनों को नहीं मार सकती तो कम से कम एक को तो ज़रूर ख़त्म करवा लूं। जब मैं इसके लिए राज़ी नहीं हुई तो उन्होंने मुझसे कहा कि ठीक है यदि जन्म देना ही है, तो दो, लेकिन एक को किसी और को दे दो।
आज भी मुझे वह भयानक रात याद है। तारीख थी 17 मई 2005… इतना गाली-गलौज और डांट के बाद मैं घबरा गयी थी और उस रात को ही मुझे ब्लीडिंग शुरू हो गयी। इतना खून बहने लगा कि एबॉर्शन का ख़तरा मंडराने लगा। खुद तो मदद करने की बात छोड़िए, चिकित्सकीय सहायता के लिए मेरे पिता को भी मुझे बुलाने की इजाज़त नहीं दी गयी। मैंने किसी तरह तड़पते-कराहते रात गुज़ारी और सुबह किसी तरह फोन कर पापा को बुला पायी। पापा के काफी देर तक मनुहार के बाद मेरे पति मुझे नर्सिंग होम ले जाने को तैयार हो गये। लेकिन खीज इतनी कि गाड़ी को सरसराती रफ्तार से रोहिणी से जनकपुरी तक ले आये। उस बीच मेरी जो दुर्गति हुई होगी, उसकी कल्पना आप खुद भी कर सकते हैं।
इन तीन घटनाओं और बार-बार गर्भपात करवाने की ज़ोर-जबरदस्ती के बाद मेरे पिता ने मुझे अपने पास बुला लिया। मेरी पूरी ऊर्जा बस इसी में लगी हुई थी कि मुझे अपने गर्भ में पल रही जुड़वां बेटियों को जन्म देना है। परंतु जुड़वां बच्चियों की वजह से मेरे ससुरालवालों ने टेस्ट करवाने और अस्पताल ले जाने की ज़हमत कभी नहीं उठायी। ऐसे समय में मेरी मां हर पल मेरे साथ थीं। इतने पर भी मेरे पति को बरदाश्त नहीं हुआ। वह अक्‍सर मेरे घर आकर भी मुझसे लड़ाई किया करते थे। चूंकि मैंने गर्भपात नहीं करवाया, इसलिए मेरे पति ने तो डीएनए टेस्ट तक की मांग कर दी ताकि यह पता लगाया जा सके कि पिता कौन है? ऐसा इसलिए कि मेरी सास को किसी साधु ने बताया था कि उनके बेटे को सिर्फ एक पुत्रधन की प्राप्ति होगी। मुझे उनकी ऐसी सोच से बहुत गहरा आघात लगा। मैंने अपनी सास को कई बार समझाया कि बेटा और बेटी के लिए मां नहीं बल्कि पिता जिम्मेवार होता है, तो उनकी प्रतिक्रिया यह थी कि इसके लिए जिम्मेवार मैं हूं क्‍योंकि मैंने अबॉर्शन के लिए मना कर दिया। खैर… यह सब चलता रहा और तनावों के बीच मैंने समय से पहले ही यानी 11 अगस्त 2005 को प्री-टर्म बेबी को जन्म दिया। मेरी बेटियां ज़‍िंदगी से जूझ रही थीं। जन्म के नौ दिनों बाद भी मेरे ससुराल से उन्हें देखने के लिए कोई नहीं आया। दसवें दिन नेरी ननद, मेरी सास और ससुर मुझसे मिलने आये। मेरी एक चाची ने मेरी ननद से खुश होते हुए कहा कि बुआ बनने पर बधाई हो। लेकिन खुश होने के बजाय मेरी ननद ने कहा कि भगवान बचाये, दुबारा हमें यह दिन न देखना पड़े। बात आयी-गयी हो गयी। अब दुखी होने का मौसम लगता है गया? मेरी सास बहुत खुश थीं कि बेटियां सातवें महीने में हुई हैं, इसलिए इनका बचना मुश्किल है। मेरी छोटी बिटिया को तो एक महीने तक अस्पताल में ही रखना पड़ा। पर मैं खुश हूं कि अब वे दोनों स्वस्थ हैं और अब तो स्कूल जाने लगी हैं। अस्पताल का खर्च भी अच्छा-खासा था पर मेरे ससुराल के लोगों ने एक फूटी कौड़ी तक नहीं दी। ऐसी मुश्किल घड़ी मे मेरे पापा हमेशा मेरे साथ रहे और अस्पताल का सारा खर्च उन्होंने ही वहन किया। यदि पापा जीवन के इस कठिन मोड़ पर या यूं कहें कि हर विपत्ति की घड़ी में मेरे साथ न होते तो न जाने मेरा और मेरी बच्चियों का क्‍या हश्र हुआ होता?
चूंकि शादी के बाद ससुराल ही लड़की का अपना घर होता है। यह सोचकर मैंने भी प्रताड़नाओं के बावजूद कई बार ससुराल वापस जाने की कोशिश की। हालांकि वहां उनके शब्दबाण मुझे छलनी कर जाते थे। मैं खुद यह सब बरदाश्त कर सकती थी, लेकिन मेरी बच्चियों को वहां कोई नहीं पूछता था। मेरी और मेरी बच्चियों के लिए वहां लेस मात्र भी प्यार नहीं था। अब तो मुझे इस बात का भी एहसास हो गया कि मैं और मेरी बच्चियों की ज़‍िंदगी यहां ख़तरे में है। मेरी सास ने मेरी चार माह की बच्‍ची को सीढ़ियों से धकेल दिया और कहा कि एक्‍सीडेंटली ऐसा हो गया। पर यकीन मानिए मेरी खुशकिस्मती थी कि मैं समय पर आ गयी और बच्‍ची के कैरी कॉट को थाम लिया।
आखिर कब तक मैं उन्हें मौत के मुंह में धकेले रखती? मेरी बच्चियों के लिए किसी के भी मन में कोई प्यार और संवेदना नहीं थी। दादा-दादी और बुआ सब उनकी अवहेलना करते थे। इसके बावजूद मैंने तीन सालों तक लगातार यह कोशिश की मेरी ससुराल के लोग इन्हें अपना लें और बच्चियों को एक स्थायी घर और प्रेम का वातावरण मिले। पर ऐसा हो न सका। आप सोच रहे होंगे कि आखिर मैं इतने दिनों तक यह सब क्‍यों सहती रही? मैंने इनके ख़‍िलाफ़ कोई शिक़ायत क्‍यों नहीं दर्ज करवायी? पर ऐसा नहीं है। मैंने गर्भावस्था के दौरान सेक्‍स डिटर्मिनेशन टेस्ट करवाने के लिए और गर्भपात पर जोर दिये जाने के ख़‍िलाफ़ पुलिस में शिक़ायत दर्ज करवायी थी। साथ ही थाने में यह गुहार भी लगायी थी कि उनके ख़‍िलाफ़ कोई एक्‍शन न लिया जाए। चूंकि मैं सोचती थी कि बच्चियों के जन्म के बाद शायद उन लोगों के मन में बच्‍चों के प्रति प्रेम उमड़ आएगा। लेकिन कुछ नहीं हुआ।
अति तो तब हो गयी, जब मार्च 2008 में मेरे पति ने आधी रात को मुझे घर से बेदखल कर दिया और मुझसे कहा कि तुम आपसी सहमति से तलाक ले लो। ऐसा इसलिए ताकि वह दूसरी शादी कर सकें और उससे बेटा पैदा कर सकें। मुझे इस बात का अंदेशा पहले से ही था कि वो ऐसा कर सकते हैं। इसलिए मैंने इस बार के प्रवास में जबरन कराये गये अल्‍ट्रासाउंड के काग़ज़ात और अन्य अस्पताल के काग़ज़ात, जो कि मेरे पति के कब्जे में रहते थे, वो सब ले लिये। अब मैंने इनके ख़‍िलाफ़ शिक़ायत दर्ज करायी है ताकि मेरे आंसुओं का हिसाब मिले न मिले, मेरी बच्चियों को एक सुखद जीवन मिल सके। तमाम तरह की कोशिशों और समझौतों से थकने के बाद 10 अप्रैल, 2008 को मैंने वूमेन कमिशन, स्वास्थ्य मंत्रालय व कई स्वयंसेवी संगठनों में अपनी शिक़ायत दर्ज करवायी।
9 मई, 2008 को मैने पीएनडीटी सेल में भी शिक़ायतनामा दर्ज करवाया। पिछले साल छह जून को मुझे आरटीआई के आवेदन के आलोक में जवाब आया कि मानिटरिंग कमिटी व डिस्ट्रिक्‍ट एप्रोप्रिएट अथॉरिटी (उत्तर पश्चिम दिल्ली) ने तीन जून को अस्पताल पर रेड किया और पाया कि फार्म-एफ नहीं भरा गया है। (और यह सच भी है)। चूंकि इसका भरा जाना जरूरी होता है। कानून में दर्ज है – (“Person conducting ultrasonography on a pregnant woman shall keep complete record thereof in the clinic/centre in Form-F and any deficiency or inaccuracy found therein shall amount to contravention of provisions of section-5 or section-6 of the Act, unless contrary is proved by the persons conducting such ultrasonography”)
सेक्‍शन पांच व छह के अनुसार गर्भवती स्त्री की अल्‍ट्रासोनोग्राफी की सहमति ली जानी व गर्भ में पल रहे बच्चे के सेक्‍स के बारे में जानकारी किसी को न देने की बात कही गयी है। गर्भवती स्त्री को इससे होनेवाले साइड इफेक्‍ट व बाद के प्रभावों की जानकारी देना व उसकी सहमति अनिवार्य है। पर मेरे केस में ऐसा नहीं हुआ। जबरन ऐसा करवाना कानूनन अपराध है। इसके बावजूद अब तक अस्पताल पर कोई भी कारर्वाई नहीं की गयी है। जब मेरे मामले को मीडिया ने हाइलाइट किया, तो मेरे पास डिस्ट्रिक्‍ट एप्रोप्रिएट अथॉरिटी का एक खत आया कि मैं उनके समक्ष जाकर अपनी बात रखूं। मैं अपने एक मित्र के साथ वहां जाकर सीडीएमओ से मिली और पूछा कि इस केस में मेरे बयान का क्‍या महत्व है, तो मुझे समझाया गया कि कानून को व्यापक करने की ज़रूरत है। मुझे बहुत इंपल्सिव तरीके से इस मामले में कोई काम नहीं करना चाहिए, जिसकी कीमत मुझे बाद में अदा करनी पड़े। मुझसे यह भी कहा गया कि मैं अपने पति से बात करूं और उनकी बात मान लूं। अगर उनकी मांग एक बेटे की है, तो मैं उसे पूरा कर सकती हूं। मैं बार-बार गर्भवती हो सकती हूं और जब बेटा हो तो उसे जन्म दे सकती हूं। मुझे तो यह समझाने की भी चेष्‍टा की गयी कि अल्‍ट्रासाउंड मशीन डायग्नोसिस के लिए कितना ज़रूरी है और अगर उसे सील कर दिया गया तो कुछ लोग उसकी सुविधा का लाभ लेने से वंचित रह जाएंगे। अंत में मुझसे कहा गया कि मैं अपने पति से समझौता कर लूं ताकि डॉक्‍टरों को परेशान न होना पड़े। मैंने जब उपर्युक्त सवालों के सीडीएमओ द्वारा पूछे जाने को लेकर केंद्र व राज्य के पीएनडीटी विभाग से यह पूछा कि मुझसे इस तरह की बातें सीडीएमओ ने क्‍यों कहीं, क्‍या औरतें सिर्फ बच्‍चा जनने की मशीन हैं, जब तक कि बेटा पैदा न करे – पर मुझे दोनों में से कहीं से भी कोई जवाब नहीं मिला।
अंत में मैंने एक प्राइवेट केस पीसी-पीएनडीटी एक्‍ट के तहत नवंबर 2008 में दर्ज करवाया। जनवरी 2009 में एप्रोप्रिएट अथॉरिटी ने भी जयपुर गोल्डन हॉस्पिटल के ख़‍िलाफ़ केस फाइल किया है। लेकिन दोनों ही मामले अभी तक लंबित हैं। स्वास्थ्य एवं परिवार कल्याण मंत्रालय की डॉ किरण वालिया ने मेरे केस को री-ओपन करवाया था। उन्होंने यह भी देखा कि सीडीएमओ जो मेरे केस को देख रहे थे, वह बदल गये हैं। उनके सहयोग के लिए मैं उनकी आभारी हूं। पर अफ़सोस के साथ मुझे कहना पड़ रहा है कि मैं चौतरफा मार झेल रही हूं। हर अथॉरिटी चाहे वह पुलिस हो, ज्युडिसियरी या अस्पताल – जहां मैं काम करती हूं – की ओर से केस वापस लेने का दबाव पड़ रहा है। इस प्रताड़ना और धमकियों की वजह से मुझे अपनी नौकरी तक छोड़नी पड़ी। यकीन मानिए, यहां तक कि हाईकोर्ट के जज ने भी मुझे अपने पति से रीकौंसाइल की सलाह दे डाली। जब मैंने पूछा कि रीकौंसाइल से क्‍या आशय है आपका? तो उन्होंने कहा कि मुझे अपने पति के साथ रहना चाहिए। इस पर मैंने उनसे कहा कि – चाहे मैं और मेरी बेटियों को जान से ही हाथ धोना क्‍यों न पड़े, इस पर जज साहब ने कहा कि यदि मैं अपने पति के साथ नहीं रहना चाहती हूं तो कम से कम मैं उन्हें आपसी सहमति से तलाक दे दूं। इस बात के जवाब में मैंने सिर्फ इतना ही कहा कि मैं ऐसा तभी करूंगी, जब हिंदू विवाह अधिनियम में यह बदलाव हो जाए कि वह व्यक्ति अपनी पत्नी को तलाक दे सकता है यदि वह बेटा पैदा करके न दे।
मैं जिस गलती की सजा भुगत रही हूं – वह ये कि मेरे गर्भ में बेटियां आयीं और मैंने गर्भपात करवाने से मना कर दिया। मेरा कई ऐसे लोगों से सामना हुआ है और उनका मानना है कि मेरे पति और ससुराल के लोगों का यह सोचना कि एक बेटा चाहिए, जायज़ है। हर परिवार की ऐसी मंशा होती है। मेरे एक सहकर्मी डॉक्‍टर का मानना है कि दूसरे या उसके बाद के गर्भधारण के लिए सेक्‍स डिटर्मिनेशन व मादा भ्रूण हत्या को कानूनन जायज़ बना देना चाहिए। मेरे कई डॉक्‍टर साथी, जिनकी शादी हो गयी है और उनकी एक बेटी है, बेटा नहीं, उनका मानना है कि सेक्‍स डिटर्मिनेशन व मादा भ्रूण हत्या के लिए वे तैयार हैं क्‍योंकि उनके ससुराल वालों को एक बेटा चाहिए। उन्होंने साफ तौर पर कहा कि जो कदम मैंने उठाया है, वो ऐसा नहीं करेंगे। क्‍योंकि वो बच्चे के लिए एक स्थायी घर व पिता चाहते हैं।
कई ग़रीब मरीज़ मेरे पास ऐसे आते हैं, जो बेटों की चाह में कई-कई बेटियां जनमा चुके हैं। कई बार मुझे ऐसा लगता है कि क्‍या हमारा समाज औरतों को सिर्फ बेटा पैदा करने की मशीन समझता है? मेरी जैसी स्त्रियां, जो ऐसा नहीं सोचतीं कि महिलाएं जन्मजात पुरुषों से अलग हैं और बेटियों का गर्भपात करने से मना कर देती हैं, वे समाज की नज़र में अपराधी हैं। उन्हें पागल समझा जाता है। आज भी कई लोगों की मेरे पति व ससुरालवालों के प्रति सहानुभूति है। लेकिन मैं आपसे ही पूछना चाहती हूं क्‍या एक सृजनशील स्त्री अपने गर्भ में पल रहे बच्चे को सिर्फ इसलिए मार दे कि वह मादा है? क्‍या मानवता या ममत्व के नाते ऐसा करना अपराध है? शायद अपराध तब होता, जब मैं अपनी बच्चियों को कोख में ही मार डालती या जन्म के बाद उन्हें मार डालती या किसी और को दे देती। लेकिन एक मां होने के नाते मैं ऐसा सोच भी कैसे सकती थी? ज़रा आप भी सोचिए। क्‍या मुझे इसकी सज़ा मिलनी चाहिए? शायद नहीं? यदि मुझे मिली तब भी कोई बात नहीं परंतु मेरी बेटियों को भी इसकी सज़ा मिल रही है, जो मुझे क़तई बरदाश्त नहीं। मैं उन्हें उनका हक़ दिलवा कर रहूंगी। मैं इस लड़ाई में अकेली हूं, पर यक़ीन मानिए, यह लड़ाई मेरे अकेले की नहीं है। इससे अन्य महिलाओं को भी न्याय मिल पाएगा। जो मेरी तरह आर्थिक रूप से सक्षम नहीं हैं, वो कैसे इतनी बड़ी लड़ाई लड़ कर न्याय हासिल कर पाएंगी। मैं चाहती हूं कि मेरी तरह फिर किसी महिला को घर से न निकाला जाए और उनकी बेटियों को उनका पूरा अधिकार मिले।
यह कहानी भेजने के क्रम में मुझे ख़बर मिली है कि कोर्ट ने अस्पताल को सम्मन जारी कर दिया है और डॉ मीतू को बयान के लिए बुलाया गया है। केस की तारीख 1 दिसंबर है। लेकिन डॉ कमल खुराना अब एक नयी चाल चल रहे हैं और अपने बचाव के लिए वे बेटियों को कस्टडी में लेना चाहते हैं। यह सोचनेवाली बात है कि चार साल के बाद आचानक उनका बेटियों के प्रति प्रेम कैसे उमड़ पड़ा, जिन्हें वे गर्भ में और पैदा होने के बाद भी मार डालना चाहते थे, पैसे देकर केस वापस लेने का दबाव बना रहे थे, तलाक की बात कर रहे थे? कहीं ये उन मासूम जानों को मार डालने की साज़‍श तो नहीं है?
(अनुपमा। झारखंड की चर्चित पत्रकार। प्रभात ख़बर में लंबे समय तक जुड़ाव के बाद स्‍वतंत्र रूप से रूरल रिपोर्टिंग। महिला और मानवाधिकार के सवालों पर लगातार सजग। देशाटन में दिलचस्‍पी। प्रभात ख़बर के लिए ब्‍लॉगिंग पर नियमित स्‍तंभ लेखन।)

5 yrs on, doctor who got in-laws booked for pre-natal sex determination awaits justice

Vidya Krishnan Posted online: Mon Apr 27 2009, 03:37 hrs

New Delhi : Dr Mitu Khurana had hoped for justice when she filed a case against her in-laws for forcibly determining the sex of her unborn twins over five years ago.
The first woman to file a complaint under the PC-PNDT Act in Delhi, Mitu is still fighting her lonely battle. Separated from her husband, the paediatrician in an MCD hospital has been raising her two daughters all by herself.
“The legal battles are proving to be very expensive since my daughters have started going to school. I do not get maintenance for them. But I am going to fight till the end,” said Mitu.
Mitu was thrown out of her husband’s house because she had spoken out against pre-natal sex determination. She brought charges of domestic violence and dowry harassment too against her in-laws. No verdict has come in these two cases either.
Complaints filed at the Delhi Commission of Women, National Commission for Women and the Delhi Appropriate Authority, which specialises in Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) cases, yielded no result, said Mitu. According to her, the inquiry reports by the women’s commission have discrepancies. “I want them to reinvestigate the case. They have not questioned a single person properly and submitted a report saying my complaints are unfounded. There is evidence through an application filed under the Right to Information Act that sex determination was conducted, but the PC-PNDT Cell has conducted a shoddy investigation, which is affecting the outcome of my case,” she added.
Officials in the PC-PNDT Cell, however, denied the charge. They said they had done their investigation and submitted a report and that there was nothing else they could do. While her husband Dr Kamal Khurana refused to comment, his lawyer Sarvagya Sharma said: “The PC-PNDT case was investigated and nothing was found against my client. Only one case under domestic violence is pending. My client has tried to settle this issue but she does not want to cooperate.”
Meetings with ministers and the chief minister have not helped her case either. “At every step, the judges, lawyers, policemen and people from the women’s commissions advised me to settle the differences with my husband. I have been moving in circles for all these years and the case is going nowhere. I just want my in-laws punished for trying to harm my children. I want justice before I lose faith in this system,” she added.
Dr Khurana met Health Minister Kiran Walia last week, with a request to expedite action in the cases. “I am looking at all the papers regarding this case to help her (Mitu) in the best possible way. There are loopholes in the system, which needs to be plugged. It is my job to get things done. We need to fix responsibility and hold officers accountable,” Walia told Newsline.
Mitu is one of the most vociferous activists working towards creating awareness about the PC-PNDT Act. While the first such case was registered in Delhi when a court took cognisance of a newspaper report, Mitu was the first woman in the Capital to lodge an FIR under the PC-PNDT Act. “I have a selfish interest in this Act being implemented properly. If it is not done today, my daughters will face the same torture when they get married,” she said.

Doctor loses home for refusing sex test, brings up twin girls 

Prashant K. Nanda

New Delhi, March 15
Her doctor husband forced Ritu Kumar, a physician herself, to go for a sex determination test and her academician in-laws pushed her to abort the two female foetuses or at least kill one of them. But she still went ahead and gave birth to twin girls.

That was two and a half years ago. Ritu (name changed) and the twins were thrown out of their home in West Delhi. But the fight that began with two unborn children is far from over.

“I am facing a lot of hardships. My husband has thrown me out of home. But still I am proud of what I have done. I am proud to have saved my daughters,” said Ritu, who lives in the national Capital.

Nearly one million female foetuses are aborted every year in India — a country known for its male preference — which means over 2,700 girls die every day before even seeing the light of the day. But thanks to Ritu, at least two girls have got a chance to live.

Ritu got married in 2004. Both she and her husband are doctors and her in-laws are well educated.

“We came to know that I was carrying twin babies. Then my mother-in-law started demanding sex determination. They got that done by force. Then they started demanding that I get an MTP (medical termination of pregnancy). They asked me many times to at least get one child killed in utero,” Ritu, 33, told IANS.

Ritu alleges that her mother-in-law told her, “Two daughters would be a big burden on them”.

She accuses her husband of verbally abusing her and claims she was virtually put under house arrest when she decided to disobey their diktat.

Now, she is living with her 72-year-old father, who is also a doctor, along with her children. “I am living only because of my daughters,” said Ritu, her eyes brimming with tears.

But she often feels scared. “I am scared! They want to kill me. They have deployed detectives to record my activities. But, for the sake of my children, I have not filed a police case against my husband and my in-laws,” she said.

“I have informed the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) and taken legal counselling from a High Court lawyer. I have also availed myself of counselling from the Navjyoti Counselling Centre of Kiran Bedi.

“But I have requested all of them not to initiate action against my husband and in-laws. I want to give my husband another chance as my children need their father,” Kumar said in a choked voice.

Pragya Routray, a Delhi High Court lawyer, who has counselled Ritu and her husband, said, “It is a serious case. Her husband can be charged with forced sex-selection, pressurising her to go for female foeticide and, above all, domestic violence.”

“But the problem is that she wants to reconcile with her husband for the sake of their kids. On one hand she is scared of the man and on the other she wants to give him another chance,” Routray told IANS.

Bijayalaxmi Nanda, an activist working against female foeticide who has also been counselling Ritu, said that like any other Indian woman she wants to give her husband one more chance but a “reconciliation sounds very unlikely”.

“They don’t trust each other. The man has been torturing her for so many years and even threw her out of home. I think this should be the last chance for the man. He may be in a noble profession (medical practitioner) but he is not behaving like a good human being,” said Nanda, a professor at Miranda House.

Ritu said that she was worried about her children’s future. “I am not working anywhere, as I am not in a good psychological condition.

“I tried to shift out with my husband, but I started receiving threatening calls that my daughters and I would be murdered if I did not divorce my husband,” she added. — IANS

How Mitu Fought For Her Daughters' Lives

by Shobha S.V.
Life for Dr Mitu Khurana, 32, has not been easy. One of the few women in India who has raised her voice against female feticide, she not only indicted her in-laws and her husband but also the hospital concerned, under the Preconception and Pre Natal Diagnostic and Testing (PC&PNDT) Act, 1994.

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has finally decided to look into the case that grabbed the attention of the media and the nation. Her repeated complaints to the District and State Appropriate Authority (a body where complaints in violation to the PC&PNDT Act can be filed) continue to remain unheeded. And now that she has not received a reply to her complaint from the State Appropriate Authority, she has approached the Central Appropriate Authority. 

Mitu got married to Dr Kamal Khurana in 2004. The very next year, she conceived twins. Mitu claims that her in-laws and husband, in collusion with the hospital authorities, deceived her into getting an ultrasound test done. "They gave me a cake to eat despite knowing that I am allergic to egg. I started having pain in the abdomen, nausea and vomiting. The next day I was taken to the Jaipur Golden Hospital (a prominent facility in North West Delhi) where the doctor asked me to get a kidney ureter bladder ultrasound. They got the test done by deception. I was heavily sedated and did not realize what was happening," she alleges. Subsequently, she says, her life became a living hell, as her in-laws started pressurizing her to get an abortion done because they did not want girls. Finally, tired of the harassment, she decided to go back to her parental home.

It's been more than five months since she filed a complaint but no proper action has been taken so far. Mitu filed a complaint in April this year with the Chief District Medical Officer, North West Delhi. When that led to no action, she filed an application under Right to Information Act 2005. She, subsequently, got a reply stating that a raid was conducted at the Jaipur Golden Hospital and that no 'Form F' was found. According to the PC&PNDT Act, it is through Form F that the mandatory record is maintained by every genetic clinic, with respect to each woman subjected to any pre-natal diagnostic procedure. 

Meanwhile, the PC&PNDT authorities continue to pass the buck. Dr A.K. Jaina, of the State Appropriate Appellate Authority, New Delhi says, "This case comes under the purview of the district appropriate authority. We cannot do much." There is talk of getting the case transferred - it was filed under the PC&PNDT Act, which comes under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare - to the Women and Child Ministry. However, the status of that initiative is also not known. 

Mitu's case has received support from all over India. Professor Bijay Laxmi Nanda, who teaches at Miranda House, Delhi University, and is coordinator, Campaign Against Female Feticide, says, "Her case is very unique. She's one of the few women I am aware of who has managed to save both her daughters and now filed a case against her in-laws and the hospital." Many women's activists including '50 million missing girls', a group fighting against female feticide, have extended their support to Mitu.
Renny Jacob, Member, DCW, says, "Our lawyers are going through the documents. DCW has sent a letter to the Chief Medical Officer of the State Appropriate Authority. We are waiting for his response." She adds, "Mitu has not got justice till date. The doctors and the hospital concerned should be punished. We are not interested in her issues of marital discord. However, we would like to see that justice is given to her." According to Jacob, the medical fraternity usually observes a code of silence in cases like these. "Doctors usually don't go against the doctors," she says.

Clinics have to maintain an account of every woman who has gone through the pre-natal diagnostic procedure as specified in 'Form F' of the PC&PNDT Act 

When to complain? 

1. If an advertisement to provide the services of any kind of sex selection (predetermining?) is published.

2. If a clinic using the pre-conception and pre natal diagnostic techniques is not registered under the PC&PNDT Act. The registration certificate needs to be displayed publicly. 

3. If any person has got sex selection of his or her unborn child done.

4. If any medical professional has communicated the sex of unborn child to his patient. 

5. If a clinic registered under the PC&PNDT Act has not maintained the mandatory records under the Act. In case of an ultrasound scan, it is Form F that has a consent form from the patient declaring that she has not detected the sex of her unborn child and medical professional affirmation that the scan was not done for sex selection. 

6. If any person is compelling a pregnant women to under go sex selection.

7. If anybody is assisting or facilitating the process of sex selection. 

How to complain? 

A complainant can approach the designated Appropriate Authority of the State or 
District or sub district. The Appropriate Authority at the State level is a high ranking health department official above the rank of Joint Director of Health and Family Welfare. But there are also officials at local level in rural and urban areas who can be approached - the civil surgeon or the chief medical officer at the district level; the chief health officer or a ward health officer in a city; and the medical superintendent. A written complaint has to be made to the Appropriate Authority (AA), which has to acknowledge receipt. If the AA takes no action within 15 days, the complainant can go to Court with the acknowledgment receipt. Alternatively, the complainant can also approach a social organization like a NGO working on women's rights issues in the area or state. 

(For details, log on to:
Mitu's case holds a mirror to a fact quite evident in Delhi: it has one of the lowest female sex ratios in the country. According to a recent survey by Centre for Social Research, a Delhi-based non-governmental organization, the male-female sex ratio in areas of the Capital like Punjabi Bagh (West Delhi) and Najafgarh (South West Delhi) has plumbed new depths and the girl child is virtually shunned. 

The PC&PNDT authorities have cited several reasons for the difficulties in the implementation of the Act. According to the 2006 annual report by the authorities, the collusion between the people demanding the illegal service of sex determination and the service providers is so strong that it is difficult to pin down the offender. 

Right now Mitu stays with her parents who are also supporting her financially. "I am able to fight this battle only because of my parents. This can happen to anyone. I am a doctor from an educated family. If I can go through such an experience, anyone can." When contacted, Mitu's husband, Kamal, had only this to say, "Our case is in the Tis Hazari mediation centre. I do not wish to comment." 

According to the law, sex determination is banned under the PC&PNDT Act. Medical practitioners and gynecologists conducting the test and aborting the female fetus can be prosecuted under this Act and the offence is non-bailable. The law may be stringent, but when enforcers continue to look the other way, it makes very little difference. 

Publication: Mumbai Mirror ; Date: Aug 19, 2008; Section: Nation; Page: 15

My girls will enjoy their right to life

Delhi resident Dr Mitu Khurana says her husband, also a doctor, wanted her to abort twin girls after an illegal sex determination test

NEW DELHI: Sixty-one years after Independence, girls in our country are still fighting for the freedom to be born and the freedom to live. Dr Mitu Khurana is the mother of two lovely twins. But the real reason we are talking about her is that she chose to fight her husband and his parents rather than let them force her into an abortion. She is also the first woman in Delhi to have filed a case against her husband and his parents under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act after they fraudulently obtained information about the sex of the babies she was carrying and pressurised her to abort the foetuses. 

    “After I came to know that my husband, also a doctor, had managed to get a sex-determination test done, I knew what was going to happen. They desperately wanted a male child. There was immense pressure on me to go in for an abortion. But instead of giving in to them, I chose to escape and am proud to say that I have given birth to two lovely daughters,” says Dr Mitu. She has lodged a complaint against her husband, Dr Kamal Khurana, his parents and also wants action against the doctors who helped them conduct the illegal sex determination test. 


Though determined in her objective, she is a little disheartened by the authorities’ attitude. It has been four months since she filed her complaint but little has been done in the name of investigation. “Though the government claims it is doing its bit to protect the girl child, nothing is being done in my case. All I have faced since filing the complaint have been threats, pressure to withdraw the case and mental harassment,” she says. 

    She has gone to the Delhi Commission for Women, the CDMO, Northwest Delhi, Core Monitoring Committee of PNDT, written to the Prime Minister and has now decided to write to the health minister seeking justice. She has also filed an application under the Right To Information Act on June 3 to know the status of her case. “Before filing the case I had met Dr Puneet Bedi, a member of the Core Monitoring Committee. He did not take me seriously. Also, he warned me that if I file a case, the concerned hospital, where the sex determination was done without my knowledge, would threaten and offer me bribes and I would be forced to settle the case with my husband and close it,” she said. 

    Dr Mitu was however bold enough and did not pay heed to Dr Bedi’s warnings. She fought her battle alone. “I was advised by the authorities to stop and think about my actions and not do anything in haste as I would have to repent later. I was also told that I should try to reconcile with my husband, and the wish for a son was not something I could not fulfil as I could always get pregnant again,” she said. 

    But when no one called her regarding the case, she filed an RTI to know the status of her complaint. Then a raid was conducted on the hospital. “I got the answer that the Central PNDT department has conducted a raid, and there was again silence. Finally, I received a registered letter dated July 16 from CDMO, Northwest Delhi that during the raid no Form F was found, which was filled for the Ultra Sonography done in the hospital. This is a violation of the PNDT Act, but still no action has been taken against my husband,” says Dr Mitu. 


Bijaya Laxmi Nanda, campaign co-ordinator, Campaign Against Female Foeticide, said: “I appreciate Mitu for launching the fight. She is the first one from Delhi to launch the fight. In her case her husband, in-laws and the concerned doctor were hand in glove. 

    “Her in-laws wanted a boy child while the doctors wanted money. Here, I think the doctors’ fraternity is also in question which is why no action was taken against the doctor, who determined her babies’ sex and also Mitu’s husband, who is also a doctor.” 



Dr Mitu’s husband Dr Kamal Khurana, however, said: “Her allegations are false. I can’t make any comment until the matter is resolved.” Dr A K Jaina, director of Family Welfare Directorate (PNDT comes under the directorate), said: “This case is under investigation by appropriate authorities. So far, we do not have any report.” 

Dr Mitu Khurana with her twin daughters 

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