SC issues notice to the Central Government in a plea challenging a notification suspending specific provisions of the Preconception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Rules,1996

In a plea challenging the Notification dated 4th April, 2020, the Supreme Court Bench headed by Hon’ble Justice UU Lalit, refused to suspend the said Notification and issued a notice to the Central Government.

 

The Notification was issued by the Department of Health and Family Welfare suspending the implementation of the following provisions of the Preconception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Rules,1996 (“Rules”) till 30th June, 2020.

 

  • Rule 8: Renewal of Registration wherein an application has to be made by the Genetic Counselling Centre, Genetic Laboratory, Genetic Clinic, Ultrasound Clinics in order to continue operations.

 

  • Rule 9(8): which deals with the mandate to maintain and preserve records and thereby send a complete report in respect of all pre-conception or pregnancy related procedures/techniques/tests conducted by them in respect of each month by 5th day of the following month.

 

  • Rule 18(A)(6): which deals with the Code of Conduct for Authorities.

 

The plea has been filed on behalf of Dr. Sabu Mathew George (“petitioner”) by an Advocate on Record thereby challenging the Notification and stating it to be illegal and arbitrary. Further, it has been contended that the Notification is without jurisdiction as the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 (“Act”) does not provide any power for suspension of the Rules thereby making the Notification illegal.

 

The Central Government (“respondent”) has contended before the Bench that in a situation of national crisis the relaxation has been granted through the Notification which is valid only till 30th June, 2020.

 

Further, the Bench has given liberty to the petitioner to raise the issue if the notification is extended beyond 30th June, 2020.

 

The matter is listed in the 3rd Week of July, 2020.

 

Background:

 

In light of the pandemic, complying to the above mentioned provisions have become difficult for the clinics and laboratories. Therefore, considering emergency situation, the Notification dated 4th April, 2020 was issued by the Central Government.

 

Source: Supreme Court

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