Support A mothers fight to save her daughters
Dr Mitu Khurana is the first mother in India to file a complaint under the P.C-P.N.D.T Act because her husband and in laws did not want her to give birth to her twin daughters. Her case has been highlighted in various national and International media, some of them being-
1.First episode of SATYAMEV JAYATE
2.WITNESS program on ALJAZEERA channel (http://www.aljazeera.com/programhers/witness/2013/09/20139912536503360.html
3.2009 Human Rights Reports: India by US government (http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/sca/136087.htm)
4.2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – India (http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/sca/154480.htm)
Dr Mitu is a doctor/paediatrician and she faced immense pressure from her matrimonial family to abort her twin female children. Her experience in fighting for justice for her daughters show the extreme patriarchal attitude of all authorities supposed to help women like her, who want to go against their families and save their daughters.
She got married in November 2004. In January 2005 she became pregnant. An ultrasound showed that she was carrying twins. Her mother-in-law started demanding that she undergo a sex determination test to which she refused. She was tortured to get it done.
After persuasion had no effect her in-laws and husband got sex determination test done by deception. They very well knew that she was allergic to eggs; still they fed her cake made with eggs, all the while assuring her it was eggless. She developed allergic manifestations àstomach-ache, loose motions and vomiting. The next morning her husband and mother-in-law took her to a hospital, wherein 16thweek of pregnancy She was admitted to the labor room. The gynaecologist advised ultrasound of kidney, ureter and bladder but the radiologist conducted a foetal ultrasound without her knowledge and consent and without filling the mandatory forms required as per law before a foetal ultrasound is done on a woman.
After this incident, her husband and in-laws started demanding that she get Medical Termination of Pregnancy(M.T.P.) done. Her mother-in-law asked her many times to abort at least one of the foetuses. She was kept without food and water. Her mother-in- law told her that two daughters would be a big burden on the family and she should get at least one, if not both of them aborted. When she refused, she was asked to give one of them for adoption.
In May 05, after she was subjected to a lot of abuse, she started bleeding at night and there was danger of abortion. She was not even allowed to call up her parents for medical help. She survived the night and managed to call her father in the morning. After much persuasion by her father, her husband agreed to take her to a nursing home.
Her Husband demanded that a (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) D.N.A test done to establish the paternity of the twins because his mother had been told by some priest that he would have just one son. As she was carrying two daughters, he said they could not be his children.
She filed a complaint in the local police station during pregnancy alleging that a sex determination test of her foetuses seemed to have been conducted and the pressure by her in-laws to have an M.T.P done. She delivered her daughters premature and very weak in August 2005 while staying in her parents’ house. She was told she cannot return to her matrimonial home with two daughters. When she tried to go back with her daughters to her matrimonial home, her mother in law threw her 4 month old daughter down the stairs.
She filed many complaints of sex determination of foetuses to Delhi Commission for Women, Crime against Women cell and National Commission for Women during the period 2005 to 2008. In March 2008, on the advice of the SHO Janakpuri, She and her husband shifted to a rented accommodation with her daughters. However her husband threw her out in the middle of the night and asked for a mutual divorce, because he wanted to remarry and have sons. It was only in March 2008, that she came across the hospital discharge papers and reports of ultrasounds done during her pregnancy (those papers had been always in the custody of her husband).
COMPLAINT UNDER PC-PNDT ACT AND ATTITUDE OF THE AUTHORITIES
In April 2008 – She filed a complaint to the Women’s Commissions, the Health Minister, and various N.G.Os. However there was no reply from anyone. In May 08– She filed a complaint in the P.N.D.T cell.
In June 08 – She received a reply to an RTI application filed by her that the Central Monitoring Committee along with District Appropriate Authority (North West Delhi) had raided the hospital in June 08, wherein it was found that no form F (mandatory as per P.C-P.N.D.T Act) was filled when the ultrasound was conducted on her when she was taken to the hospital for allergy due to egg.
However no action was taken. After her case was highlighted in the media, she got a letter from District Appropriate Authority asking her to appear before them and express her views. She went to meet the Chief District Medical Officer (“CDMO”) along with Mrs. Bijayalaxmi Nanda (A Social activist still helping her) and urged the CDMO to pursue her case. The CDMO suggested that she should not do anything in an impulsive manner, which she may repent later.
She was also told that she should try to reconcile with her husband, and his wish for a son was not something she could not fulfil, as she could always get pregnant again. She was also asked as to how she would stand to benefit if the ultrasound machine was sealed. She was told the ultrasound machine was a very useful tool for diagnosis and someone could suffer if it was sealed. Lastly she was advised to inform the office, in case of settlement with her husband, so that the doctors are not troubled.
The Appropriate Authorities did everything in their power to try and force her to withdraw her complaints. No action was taken against the accused despite it being established from all enquiries that:
i) The gynaecologist had asked only for ultrasound of (Kidney, Uterus, and Bladder) but a detailed foetal ultrasound has been conducted by the radiologist.
ii) That no form ‘F’ had been filled for the same as is mandated under the PC-PNDT Act.
iii) She was tortured during pregnancy to abort the babies and She had reported it to the local police and Crime against Women Cell from time to time-
In the mean time all her letters to central and state PNDT department went unanswered. The district Appropriate Authorities supported her husband wholeheartedly despite all proofs given by her. An enquiry committee was constituted which gave a report that there is no direct/circumstantial evidence of sex determination. Despite running from pillar to post with all evidences, she has not been offered any support by the Appropriate Authorities.
The authorities conducted a vague enquiry and gave an one sided report to save the accused. Despite filling numerous objections to the way enquiry was held and bringing to the forefront the blaring discrepancies in the report no action was initiated to cancel the report/ take any action against the officials giving a lopsided report to save the accused.
As the matter was not pursued in real earnest, she had no choice but to file a private case under PC-PNDT act in November 2008. Cognizance was taken on the complaint after the pre-summoning evidence of on June 08, 2011.
Immediately the accused doctor and the owner of the ultrasound Clinic moved to the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi for quashing of the summons and an ex-parte stay on the proceedings against the accused was granted. The matter is pending in Delhi High Court since 2011 despite Hon`ble Supreme court orders to dispose of all cases under PC-PNDT Act within six months.
In January 2009 – the Appropriate Authority filed a case only against the Director of the Hospital in which the alleged sex determination ultrasonography test was conducted on her. The authorities stated that they have not filed a case against the doctor who did the ultrasound based only on a written statement from him that he fills form ‘F’ in all cases.
The Director of the hospital where the sex determination was done have approached the High Court of Delhi for quashing the summons. The matter is pending before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court and though no stay has been granted, the proceedings in the lower court have not moved any further since then.
The Owner of the diagnostic Centrer in whose clinic the sex determination was conducted and who is an accused in the criminal complaint filed by her which is pending disposal before Rohini District Court, Delhi, was made a member of the committee to review the PC-PNDT Act by the Government of India, fully knowing that he is an accused in a criminal complaint under which cognizance has been taken by the Magistrate against him. He is supposed to be close to Mrs Sonia Gandhi.
He has stated in his petition that he was the consultant radiologist to Hon`ble President of India, Hon`ble Supreme Court and High court of Delhi are on his panel.
Dr Mitu is under all sorts of pressures (including judicial pressures) to withdraw her cases and return to her husband. She was forced to resign from a job in a Delhi Government Hospital, after she refused to withdraw her complaints. She has been threatened by many authorities including police that she will raped and murdered if she does not withdraw the complaints.
Her Husband applied for visitation rights and custody of her daughters in October 2009 (when her daughters were already 3 ½ years old), within a week, after cognizance was taken under P.C-P.ND.T. Act against the hospital. The courts granted him the visitation rights in her father’s clinic in her presence (considering the threat to their life).
Dr Mitu has full support of her parents and is an educated woman. If this is what she is facing – How can an uneducated woman fight back and save her daughters without any support whatsoever from any authority, harassment from all authorities to withdraw the cases, threats from people supposed to protect the woman, the never ending court processes and the huge fees of the lawyers?
She needs your help. In case Dr Mitu Khurana is forced to withdraw her cases, it will set a bad example and predecessor.
1. Ensure that the case pending under P.C-P.N.D.T act is disposed off on merits , as soon as possible, no longer than 6 months.
2. Ensure that no harm comes to Dr Mitu /her daughters/ Her family as many woman are looking up to her to see the outcome of her complaint .
3. Any other way , you as Hon`ble Prime Minister can help her , so that more women are encouraged to say a no to female foeticideWe the undersigned petition for Justice for daughters of India.