MOHFW clarifies confusion over suspension of compliance under PCPNDT Rules

The clarification issued through PIB states that records are to be maintained, only submission is extended

Covid 19Image Courtesy: ANI

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s decision to suspend compliance requirements under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) rules was met with widespread criticism. On April 4, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a notification that effectively suspended implementation of Rule 8, Rule 9(8) and Rule 18A(6) of the Rules,1996 until June 30, 2020. These requirements were related to renewal of registration of genetic labs and imaging centres as well as submission of reports by these labs and imaging centres to Appropriate authority and further obligations of the Appropriate Authority.

The notification states that this is being done “in view of the emergency situation arisen due to pandemic COVID-19, whereby entire country has been put under lockdown.”

A mere reading of the notification gives an impression that these requirements, which are the main facets of the law which keep these imaging centres and genetic labs in check and prevents the nuisance of sex selection, were being completely suspended until June 30. After the widespread criticism it received and the raising concerns over the menace of sex determination and impending threat of female foeticide, the Ministry has issued a notification for clarifying its stand. The Press Information issued a clarification which states,

“It is reiterated that each Ultrasound clinic, Genetic Counselling centre, Genetic Laboratory, Genetic Clinic and Imaging Centre would have to maintain all the mandatory records on day to day basis, as prescribed under the Law. It is only the submission deadlines to respective Appropriate Authorities which have been extended till June 30, 2020. There is no exemption (to the diagnostic centres) from compliance to the provisions of the PC&PNDT Act. All records are mandatory and have to be maintained as per the Rules and the said Notification in no way impacts the requirement of stringent implementation of the PC&PNDT Act and Rules.”

This makes the government’s stand very clear now about maintenance of records by labs and imaging centres, while only postponing the submission date of such records. This clarification is welcome especially serving as a more clear directive to these labs and imaging centres that are running as Essential Services amidst the nation wide lockdown.

The PIB press release can be read here


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