Women are murdered all over the world. But in India a most brutal of killing female takes place regularly, even before they have the opportunity to be born. Female foeticide , the selective abortion of female fetuses is killing upwards of one million females in India annually with far ranging and tragic consequences. In some areas, the sex ratio of females to males has dropped to less than 8000:1000. Females not only face inequality in this culture, they are even denied the right to be born. Why do so many families selectively abort baby daughters? In a word: economics. Aborting female fetuses is both practical and socially acceptable in India. Female foeticide is driven by many factors, but primarily by the prospect of having to pay a dowry to the feature bridegroom of a daughter. While sons offer security to their families in old age and can perform the rites for the souls of deceased parents and ancestors, daughters are perceived as a social and economic burden. Prenatal sex detection technologies have been misused, allowing the selective abortions of female offspring to proliferate. Legally, however, female foeticide is a penal offence. Although. Female infanticide has long been committed in India , foeticide is a relatively new practice, emerging concurrently with the advent of technological advancements in prenatal sex determination on a large scale in the 1990s. While abortion is legal in India, it is a crime to abort a pregnancy solely because the fetus is female. Strict laws and penalties are in place for violators. These laws, however, have not stemmed tide of this abhorrent practice.
CAUSES OF FEMALE FOETICIDE
Female feticide has been practice foe periods especially for the families who have a preference only male child. Several religious, social, financial and emotional are the reason for female foeticide. Therefore the time has been changed how much However, many reasons and beliefs are ongoing in some families. Some main reason for female foeticide are:
Generally, parents don’t want a girl baby because they have to give a big amount as a dowry at daughters marriage.
There is a faith that girls are always consumer and boys are the only producers. This parents understand that son will earn money for the whole life and care their parents however girls will get married a day and will have a separate family.
There is a belief that the son will carry the name of the family in future however the girl has to Carry the husband’s family.
This is a prestige issue in society for parent and grandparent to have a boy baby in the family besides having a daughter.
There is a stress on the new bride of the family to give birth to male child so she is enforced to go for sex recognition and abort if girl baby.
Illiteracy, insecurity and poverty of people in society are also major reasons for girl baby burden.
Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themed v Union Of India –
The petition was filed by an NGO and Social activist Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT) a research centre of Anusandhan Trust based in Pune and Mumbai and others filed this writ petition against a social evil-female feticide very much prevailing in our society.
DECISION : in a response to the petition, the court issued in notice to the central and state governments to file replies to central government. The central sepervisory board, state Governments under the administration. And to appoint appropriate authorities at district and sub district level. Directions stated that the list of the members appointed should be published in the print and electronic media. Appropriate authorities were further directed to send a quarterly report to the central supervisory board. Public awareness against the practice of prenatal sex determination.
Supreme court directed state governments to take further steps to enforce the law and the secretary. Department of family welfare was directed to file an affidavit indicating the status of actions taken. Supreme court directed 9 companies to supply the information of the machines sold to various clinics in the last 5 years. Details of about 11,200 machines from all these companies and fed into commion data base. Addresses received from the manufacturers were also sent to concerned states and to launch prosecution against those bodies using ultrasound machines that had filed yo get themselves registered under the act. The court directed that the ultrasound machine/scanners be sealed and seized if they were being used without registration. Three associations viz., The Indian Medical Association [IMA], Indian Radiologist Association [IRA], and the Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Societies of India [FOGS] were asked to furnish details of the members using these machines. Since the supreme court directive 99 cases were registered and in 232 cases ultrasound machines, other equipment and records were seized. Today there is an estimated 2509 ultrasound machines in the country, of these 15000 have been registered. State governments havve communicated to the central government in writing the according to official reports received, they are satisfied that sex determination services are no longer being provided in their respective states.
However, it is widely believed thaat while these services are no longer openly available their clandestine availability and utilization continues all over the country. The observation of the National inspection and Monitoring Commission confirm this situation and endorse the need for stricter enforcement of laws.
Impact of female foeticide on the sex ratio
ratio denotes the ratio of females to male in a specific region. Many practices like female foeticide and female infanticide ( killing a baby girl after her birth) have been had a contrary influence on the sex ratio. Thus it rises and promotes many social evils.
As per the decennial Indian census, Sex ratio of India is 107.48. It means 197.48 males per 100 females in 2019. Therefore India has 930 females per 1000 males. So, India has 48.20%female population compare to 51.80% male population
EFFECTIVE MEASURES TO CONTROL
Some measures are:
1. There should be registration of all the nursing homes and rigorous action should be taken against the defaulters.
2. Government must deploy national wide campaign to spread cognizance among the people. They should aware the people about the importance of girls and should not consider them as stigma to their families.
3. More reservation should be given to the girls in education. Government should provide financial support to those families who are not able to educate their children. Proper measures should be taken to implement anti dowry law and culprits should be punished. Government should provide financial support for the marriage of girls belonging to poor families.
4. Emphasis should be given to women empowerment. Women education will help in eradicating this problem. As the women will become independent, they can take decision according to their volition.
5. There is a need of remove the myth of sin preference from our society only then this problem can be tackled.
1. The constitution of India, 1950
Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 read wIth the Medical termination of pregnancy Act, 1971 where all the restrictions imposed therein, including the time limit of 20 weeks, other than the ones to ensure good medical conditions, infringe the right to abortion and the right to health, which emanate from right to life as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. Right to abortion is a species of right to privacy, which is again proclaimed a continuance of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
2. The Indian Penal Code, 1860
Sections 312-316 of the Indian Penal Code deak with the miscarriage and death of an unborn child aand depending on the severity and intention with which the crime is committed , the penalties range from seven years of imprisonment and fine to life imprisonment
3. The medical termination of pregnancy Act, 1971
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 was conceived as a tool to let the pregnant women decide on the number and frequency of children. It further gave them the right to decide on having or not having the child. However, this good intentioned steo was being misused to force women to abort the female child. In order to do away with the lacunE inherent in previous legislation, the Pre- natal Diagnostic Techniques ( regulations and prevention of Misuse) Act was passed in sex of the foetus and stipulated punishment for the violation of provisions thereof. It also provided for mandatory registration of genetic counseling centers, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, etc
POINT OF VIEW
These unscrupulous murders of female or girls is justified on two grounds. First, it reduces the population and second is that ghe loor parents will be saved from the expamses which thay would have to incur in the marriage of their daughter if she had born. So the murder of a female foetus is considered to be a solution to two major problems i.e. population problem and dowry. But how far are thse grounds justified . India was the first country to adopt family planning as an official programme to reduce the birthrate. But population of the country is still growing. One of the reasons for the growth of population in India is the desure for a son
Today the sex determination tests have provided an easy way out to know whether or not a woman will get a son
None of the arguments given in favour of the continuance of sex determination tests holds good. It is true that people should have every right to plan their families. If a man has a daughter and he wants son let have it. But difficulty lies if he wants son only. How far is correct to permit him to do do. The sex determination test is used to destroy the female foetus than to control the number of children or to have a child of the sex of one’s choice. In India the choice is always male child and it is the female only that is unwanted child.
“Yatra Naranthya Pujyathe Raman The Tatra Devatha” has been our culture. In our country a girl is worshiped as a Devi on one hand and denied ger existence on the other as if she has no right to live. Time has perhaps come for us to get rid of male chauvinism and treat children as gifts of nature regardless of their gender. We cannot imagine a society in the future where there will be only males and no females. The society will be full of crimes and evils. Only if legislations enacted in this behalf are not sufficient. Orthodox views regarding women need to be changed. The PNDT Act should penalize and punish the violators of this crime strictly. The pernicious acts of females foeticide and coercive abortions have to end before women becomes endangered species.
1. Manjeet Rathe, Eradicate scourge of female Foeticide, people’s Democracy, vol xxv, no. 39
2. Manmeet kaur, female foeticide: A Sociological Perspective, the journal of Family Welfare, vol39(1), March 1993
3. Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques ( Regulations and Prevention of Misuse) Act 1994
4. Supreme Court On Women Justice by Prof. Satish C. Shastri