The Indian Medical Association called for an urgent modification of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT) to end its ambiguous interpretation. The act in its current form deprives the community of essential ultrasound which is now an extension of clinical practice globally.
"In its current form, the implementation of the Pre Conception, Pre Natal Diagnostic Technique (PCPNDT) Act has deprived the community of life-saving and essential ultrasonography which has now become an extension of clinical practice for all specialities globally, being a well-known non-invasive, cost-effective and accurate diagnostic tool," said Dr K K Aggarwal, Secretary General of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
Aggarwal said the Act has made it extremely difficult for ultrasound clinics to ensure its complete enforcement.
"Also, doctors and other medical professionals are being put to extreme hardship while performing routine and essential scans. Due to this, many qualified doctors are opting not to do PNDT scans, thus creating a shortage of experts trained in ultrasonography," Aggarwal said.
Calling for amendments in the existing form of the Act, IMA said the rules need to be simplified and implemented uniformly across the country, and ad hoc changing of rules by each local authority should be strictly prohibited.
"New rules must be logical and should apply to the entire country only after due discussion with the representative bodies. Time should be given for implementation of the new rules."
"Also, the Act is to be directed only towards obstetric ultrasound and not any other applications of ultrasonography. The word 'offence' has to be clearly defined. The word should only mean the actual act of sex determination or female foeticide," Marthanda Pillai, the National President of IMA, said.
He further said all other clerical and administrative errors should be classified as non-compliance (and not an offence). Strict penalties can only be imposed for the actual act of sex determination or female foeticide and not for other errors.
"There is a need to redefine what amounts to sex determination as mere evidence of clerical error does not amount to sex determination. 'Imprisonment' rules should be for the offence (of sex determination or female feticide) and not for non-compliance," Aggarwal said.
"Inspections should be conducted yearly instead of every 90 days. No NGO can conduct 'raids' on doctors' premises and there should be no impediment to doctors doing their practice during inspections. Also, the doctors should have the right to report on those seeking sex determinations and action must be initiated against them immediately," he added.