Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare,
Government of India
Subject: Order dated April 4, 2020 regarding suspension of certain Rules of PcPNDT Act
Shri Dr. Harsh Vardhanji,
The MoHFW has issued a press communique on April 9, 2020 that each Ultrasound clinic, Genetic Counselling centre, Genetic laboratory, Genetic clinic and Imaging centre will have to maintain all the mandatory records on a day to day basis, as prescribed under the law. And only the submission deadlines to the respective Appropriate Authorities (AAs) have been extended till June 30, 2020. But a press communique is not binding on anyone.
The Gazette notification dated April 4 by the Department of Health and Family Welfare suspending certain Rules of the PCPNDT Act does not mention this explicitly. It only states that “the Central government hereby suspends, the implementation of Rule 8, Rule 9(8), and Rule 18A(6) of the PcPNDT (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Rules, 1996 until June 30, 2020.” The notification only states the suspension of certain Ruleswithout stating that June 30, 2020 is anextension given for submission of the reports to the respective AAs. The notification is ambiguous, misleading and gives a lot of scope for flouting the PcPNDT Act.
We strongly feel that the Gazatte notification suspending Rule 8, Rule 9(8) and Rule 18A(6) should be revoked. The government can, if necessary, issue an administrative order to delay the submission of the reports under Rule 9(8) and 18A(6) till June 30 while making it clear that the relevant records must be maintained as mandated by the PcPNDT Act. However, the application for re-registration should not be allowed to be postponed since this can be done online
The suspension of these rules throughout the country would mean that clinics and genetic labs can carry on functioning without any scrutiny.This is the only scrutiny that these labs are subjected to, to assess their adherence to the basic rules and to ensure that sex selection is not being carried out by them.