London: In a first-of-its-kind case, an Indian-origin lady doctor in the UK, who was caught on camera agreeing to carry out an abortion based on the sex of the unborn baby, has been ordered to appear in court.
46-year-old Prabha Sivaraman has been served a summon to appear before Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court next month to face an allegation under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act.
The South Yorkshire-based Indian was one of the two doctors filmed allegedly agreeing to arrange terminations because of the gender of the foetus in an investigation in 2012 by 'The Telegraph' newspaper.
Sivaraman, who worked for private clinics and National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in Manchester at the time of the investigation, was recorded telling a woman, "I don't ask questions. If you want a termination, you want a termination."
It is part of a rare private prosecution brought by a pro-life campaigner and supported by the Christian Legal Centre after the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) against charging Sivaraman.
The document states that Sivaraman faces an allegation of "conspiracy to procure poison to be used with intent to procure abortion" contrary to section 59 of the Act.
A court in Birmingham is due to hold a hearing in January to decide whether to issue a separate summons against Dr Palaniappan Rajmohan.
Rajmohan was filmed at the Calthorpe Clinic in Edgbaston, Birmingham, agreeing to conduct the procedure even though he told the undercover reporter "It's like female infanticide, isn't it?"
It comes just days after British MPs voted overwhelmingly to declare gender abortion illegal following claims that the current law in the UK was unclear on the issue.
An official at the Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court confirmed that the summon had been issued with a provisional date in early December.
Abortion is legal in mainland Britain under the 1967 Abortion Act which permits terminations in certain circumstances, most commonly where two doctors agree that continuing the pregnancy could more be harmful to the woman or her existing children than ending it.
Some abortion providers claim the law is "silent" on the question of gender but the prosecution is based on the argument that because it is not a ground under the Act it is therefore illegal.