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Delhi HC allows pvt hospital to take ultrasound machine to patient’s house

The Delhi high court has allowed a private hospital to transport an ultrasound machine to the house of a 70-year-old man who is under domiciliary hospitalisation.

Under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 and the rules framed by the state government in 2015, an individual is prevented from accessing a portable ultrasound machine because it can be used to determine the sex of a foetus.

The man’s plea said he is suffering from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, which attacks the brain and nerve cells causing acute problems with balance, movement, vision and speech, and is receiving treatment at a home ICU.

In his plea, his counsel said that he was taken to the hospital for an ultrasound procedure but his condition deteriorated during the process.

In an order dated August 6, which was released on Monday, justice Sanjeev Narula noted that even though the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 was in place to prevent the misuse of ultrasound machines for sex determination, in extraordinary circumstances, courts could always make an exception.

The judge observed that the man’s right to life would be violated if provisions of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994, were interpreted in a manner that prevented him from accessing essential medical equipment.

The court noted that in a medical emergency, wherein a petitioner is not in a position to be transported to a location where the machine is available, and wherein a procedure has been prescribed for a patient in domiciliary care, the provisions of the PNDT Act and the government notification cannot come in the way.

“It also merits noting that the rationale for the introduction of the said prohibitory provisions in the PNDT Act was in the context of prevention of the social evil of pre-natal sex determination, which is very far removed from the facts of the instant case; therefore, the providing the said machine to the petitioner is clearly not in contravention of the objective promoted by the PNDT Act,” the court’s order read.

The judge said that its directions of supplying the machine shall be implemented under the supervision of the district magistrate of New Delhi or Najafgarh along with the chief district medical officer concerned of the districts. Hindustan Times

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