IMA secures relief for the medical fraternity under PCPNDT Act
New Delhi, February 20, 2016: A landmark judgment W.P. (C) 2721/2014: Indian Medical Association vs. Union of India delivered by the Hon’ble High Court Delhi on February 17, 2016 has brought much relief to the medical fraternity, in particular the non-pelvic ultrasonologists. As per this judgment, the rules of the PC PNDT Act will no longer be applicable to non-pelvic ultrasonologists who give a declaration that they will not be using the ultrasound machine for sex determination or pre-natal diagnostic procedure.
In its judgement, the High Court has held
“(ii) … all places including vehicles where ultrasound machine or imaging machine or scanner or other equipment capable of determining sex of the foetus or has the potential of detection of sex during pregnancy or selection of sex before conception, require registration under the Act;
(iii) However, if the person seeking registration
(a) Makes a declaration in the form to be prescribed by the Central Supervisory Board to the effect that the said machine or equipment is not intended for conducting pre-natal diagnostic procedures;
(b) Gives an undertaking to not use or allow the use of the same for pre-natal diagnostic procedures; and,
(c) Has a “silent observer” or any other equipment installed on the ultrasound machines, as may be prescribed by the Central Supervisory Board, capable of storing images of each sonography tests done therewith, such person would be exempt from complying with the provisions of the Act and the Rules with respect to Genetic Clinics, Genetic Laboratory or Genetic Counseling Centre”
Preference for the male child in the society and the rising cases of female feticide and infanticide were the factors at the genesis of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.
However, the PC PNDT Act has for long been a bone of contention between doctors as well as the regulatory authorities.
Ultrasound is a common, non-invasive diagnostic tool that is also used by doctors other than Obstetricians and gynecologists. Cardiologists, Gastroenterologists, Nephrologists, Ophthalmologists and others use ultrasound/echocardiography for diagnostic purpose and also as point-of-care in various ultrasound-guided procedures and interventions such as drainage of abscess, pleural effusion, biopsies. These are instances of non pelvic ultrasonography.
Commenting on this judgment on this, Dr SS Agarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Padma Shri Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal, Honorary Secretary General IMA said, “The scope of the PCPNDT Act was an issue of national importance for us, as it affected doctors across the country who practice ultrasound and other imaging techniques, like echocardiography. Hence, we took up this issue and challenged it before the Delhi High Court. We congratulate all members of IMA for this great success.”
In a joint statement, Dr Sameer Shrivastava from Fortis Escort Heart Institute and Dr Smita Mishra from Jaypee Hospital, Noida, both noted cardiologists said, “We welcome this judgment and hopeful of this ruling of the Delhi High Court. The Act in its present scope was creating fear amongst doctors who do not perform pelvic ultrasonography. Hospitals or clinics dealing with specific organs like heart, lung or liver and use ultrasound for diagnostic or therapeutic purpose cannot be called genetic clinics. Indian Medical Association has always stood for the protection the rights of the medical fraternity. We thank the IMA for taking up this issue in earnest and securing a favorable result.”