New Delhi: Terming it as "unfortunate" and "golden silence", the Supreme Court on Tuesday came down heavily on various states for their failure to stop female foeticide leading to an alarming drop in the country's sex ratio.
Uttar Pradesh government came under severe attack with the bench observing that it should file an "apology" for filing an affidavit in which no plausible explanation has been given as to from where the figures have been arrived at.
A bench of justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit then asked the two joint secretaries and one additional secretary of Union Health Ministry to convene a meeting of senior officials of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and National Capital Territory Delhi on December 3 to check "relevant registers" and records that had formed the basis of the sex-ratio data provided by them.
"The states shall produce the relevant registers before the said committee and the report of the said committee shall be filed by December 10," it said, adding, that they should also provide the year-wise data about the persons prosecuted so far for the offence of female foeticide.
The court further wanted to know as to whether the states have any plan to give "individual incentives" to the families to save the girl child.
"It is unfortunate that nobody is taking it seriously. Some states have not the affidavit and this shows their lackadaisical attitude," it said and asked the states like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Goa and Gujarat to file their responses, along with suggestions, within two weeks.
During the hearing, the bench asked the counsel for Uttar Pradesh about the source of information behind the sex-ratio data and said, "This data is of 2011. We are in 2014. Do you mean to say that we should wait for next ten years to get the data from the next census."
"What is the source of your information. Do you maintain a register? How do you reach to such a figure...," the bench asked, adding that it will proceed with the matter after the data is authenticated.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for NGO Voluntary Health Association which has filed the PIL, said there is "severe decline" in the sex-ratio and almost all the states, which have filed the affidavits, have admitted this.