Srinagar: The J&K High Court has sought data within a week from judicial magistrates regarding pending cases pertaining to prenatal sex determination in the state.
The court has also constituted a committee comprising of three judges of the high court to oversee progress in the cases, essentially to check the increase in cases of female foeticide, which has been termed by the Supreme Court as a “colossal calamity.”
“All the courts/ the judicial magistrates shall furnish the data regarding the pending cases/complaints pertaining to the J&K Pre-conception and Prenatal Sex Selection/Determinations (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2002,” said Sanjay Dhar, Registrar General, asking for the details to be submitted to the court’s registry within a week’s time.
The High Court has also directed the judicial magistrates dealing with the cases arising under the Act to hear these cases with promptitude and to dispose of them on fast-track basis. The magistrates have been directed to submit quarterly reports to the High Court through concerned Principal District and Sessions Judges immediately after the end of each quarter.
Meanwhile, in compliance with the Supreme Court’s direction, Chief Justice of the JK High Court has constituted a committee comprising Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, Ali Mohammad Magrey and Tashi Rabstan to oversee the progress of the cases arising under the Act.
In August last year, the Supreme Court passed directions underlining the need for checking female foeticide in all states including J&K, which, according to the primary abstract of 2011 census, witnessed a drastic decrease of 79 females per thousand of children in the basic age group of 0 to 6 years. In each unit of 2,000 children, there were 941 females and 1,059 males in the 2001 census. The ratio has been found to have fallen to 862 females to 1,138 males in 2011.
The decline brought J&K down to the bottom of the list among all states, with just Haryana and Punjab behind it. In child sex ratio, J&K had 963 females per thousand males in 1981, which dropped to 941 females in 2001, dipping further to 862 females in 2011.
“It be stated with certitude and without allowing any room for any kind of equivocation or ambiguity, the perception of any individual or group or organisation or system treating a woman with inequity, indignity, inequality or any kind of discrimination is constitutionally impermissible,” the Supreme Court had said. “The society that treats man and woman with equal dignity shows the reflections of a progressive and civilised society. To think that a woman should think what a man or a society wants her to think is tantamount to slaughtering her choice, and definitely a humiliating act,” the apex court observed further.
“Decrease in the sex ratio is a sign of colossal calamity and it cannot be allowed to happen,” the apex court said and called for “concrete steps” to increase the same.