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Maharashtra moots murder charge for female foeticide

Mumbai, July 10 - The Maharashtra government Tuesday mooted slapping murder charges on those involved in female foeticide.

"We shall send a proposal to the centre to apply Indian Penal Code Section 302 (murder) on those, including family members and medicos, involved in forced abortions of female foetus," Health Minister Suresh Shetty informed the assembly.

Shetty said that at present only provisions of Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act and the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques were applicable to cases of illegal sex tests and abortion of female foetus.

The minister said that the family members of pregnant women who force her to undergo illegal sex tests or abortion would also be booked.

Nationalist Congress Party member Jitendra Avhad pointed out that people did not fear these laws and that was the reason for the growing incidents of illegal sex tests and abortion of female foetus.

Shetty pointed out that action had been taken against four family members till date, but dismissed contentions made by some members that the government was going too tough on raiding and sealing sonography centres and pharmacies selling abortion pills.

Congress member Gopal Agarwal felt that honest medicos were feeling terrorised as they apprehended action on account of minor technical issues.

Shetty assured that the laws would be followed properly and abortion pills would be sold on the prescription of a gynaecologist.

Referring to the government's campaign on the matter, Shetty said that renowned lawyer Ujjwal Nikam would fight the state's case against the doctor couple from Beed, Sudam and his wife Saraswati Munde, who indulged in female foeticide. The two are in judicial custody.

Of the total 8,331 sonography centres in the state, 291 have already been sealed and of the 4,117 MTP centres, action has been taken against 341 so far, he added.


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