Stop Online Ads of Pre-Natal Sex Tests: SC

IAS Prelims 2023

Cracking down on online advertisements on pre-natal sex determination tests, the Supreme Court directed the Microsoft, Google and Yahoo to block all pre-natal sex determination advertisements hosted by them.

These ads are violation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 as per which sex determination of the foetus is prohibited in India.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra asked the search engines to do so within 36 hours of a nodal agency of the Centre, which is to be appointed, pointed out to them each such advertisements.

The nodal agency is also empowered to receive complaints from the general public “Union of India shall constitute a nodal agency which would give advertisments on TV, radio and in newspapers that if anybody comes across anything which identify a girl or a boy (at pre-natal stage), it should be brought to the notice of the nodal agency.

Once it is brought to the notice of the nodal agency, it shall inform the search engines and they, after receiving the information, are obliged to delete it within 36 hours and inform the nodal agency.

The apex court was acting on a petition filed by Sabu Mathew George who is a member of the National Inspection and Monitoring Committee set up by the SC in 2003 to inspect and report the implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994.

The 1994 (Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques) Act says nobody shall propagate (pre-natal sex determination) and if anyone is propagating, it has to be stopped.

According to the latest estimates, five lakh female foetuses are aborted annually. UNICEF, in a recent report, said that India has lost over one crore girls since 2007. Eighty per cent of the districts in India have recorded an increasingly skewed sex ratio since 1991.