Mumbai: Maharashtra government has asked the Centre to amend the PCPNDT Act, 1994 so that sex selective abortion can be treated as murder, punishable under Section 302 of the IPC.
According to the letter sent to the Centre by the state government, determination of sex of the foetus is an offence under PCPNDT Act and the punishment under section 23(3) is imprisonment upto three years and Rs 10,000 as fine. For subsequent offence, the punishment is imprisonment which may extend to five years and fine upto Rs 50,000.
The letter states that the punishment is meagre and there is no fear in the minds of the violators of this Act. Due to the least fear of punishment, doctors and relatives of the pregnant woman indulge in sex determination of the foetus, ultimately leading to sex selective abortions.
"If we want to create fear of the Act and really want to stop this type of crime against humanity, we must bring the case of female foeticide under section 302 of the IPC," the letter states.
According to the government, social organisations, activists, thinkers, media and people`s representatives in the state have been suggesting that female foeticide is "nothing but a case of murder".
"On July 10 this year, the same issue was discussed in the Legislative Assembly and some members strongly suggested that the state government should do its best to rate the offence of female foeticide as murder. The health minister had assured that this suggestion will be communicated to the Centre for making necessary possible amendments in the PCPNDT Act," the letter said.
As per the 2011 Census, the child sex ratio in Maharashtra has dropped to 883 girls against 1000 boys. In the last one year, action has been taken against 42 doctors for violating the Act.