The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Haryana government to complete trial of cases lodged for offences of sex determination and female foeticide within four months, observing that decline in the sex ratio was “disturbing”.
“Decline in sex-ratio is a disturbing problem and the same is likely to affect the civilisation in entirety. Women are the basic pillar of human race in any society.
“The counsel for Haryana has submitted that sex ratio has been decreasing and the same is demonstrated in the affidavit.
Declining sex ratio is a disturbing problem,” a bench of justices Dipak Misra and Abhay Manohar Sapre said.
The bench, which on Tuesday took up the case of Haryana, said the trial in nearly 102 cases, registered under the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act for the offences of sex determination and female foeticide, be completed within four months starting February 1.
“Trial pending before different courts, besides the cases in which the Punjab and Haryana High Court or the apex court have not stayed the trial, shall proceed speedily and be finalised within period of four months commencing February 1,” the bench said.
The counsel for Haryana shall provide the list of pending cases to the Registrar General of the High Court, which in turn, would circulate them to concerned District and Sessions judges where the matters are pending.
It also said that Haryana may mull appointing panel of lawyers who can guide authorities to take proper action in female foeticide cases so that any action taken under the PNDT Act doesn’t collapse due to technical flaws.
The bench directed that officials concerned with the prosecution of offenders under the PNDT Act be imparted adequate training at Punjab and Haryana High Court’s judicial academy, especially to those belonging to districts where the sex-ratio was less.
“In the wake of submissions made, we direct that competent authorities under the PNDT Act who are authorised to launch prosecution shall be imparted training by judicial academy of Punjab and Haryana High Court. During training, Director, Prosecution, shall be present so that all officers attend training with seriousness,” the bench said.
Stating that the state has serious concerns to stop the malady of female foeticide, a compliance report was submitted by Haryana’s counsel, which said the state has introduced “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign to sensitise people about education of the girl child and the sex ratio.
A number of ‘Information Education Communication’ activities were being carried out regularly for stakeholders at district and state levels to create awareness and sensitise the people about the importance of girl child and “bring a change in their mindset,” the affidavit said.
Earlier, the court had termed as “unfortunate” the failure of states to stop female foeticide in the country.
The bench had then formed a panel of two joint secretaries and an additional secretary of Union Health Ministry to verify the data used by Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and National Capital Territory Delhi to arrive at the figures of the sex-ratio in these states.
The court had said it would first take up the matters relating to UP, Haryana and Delhi and then the other states.