Trimming Rough Edges – Banning Selective Online Content on Sex Selection
The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra has ordered selective ban on online content that promotes sex selection. The Justice rightly stated that blocking all advertisement would deprive people of information and ultimately knowledge would suffer. There should be some restrictions on few advertisements as per the PCPNDT (Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques, 1994) law but banning all information is not the solution. In the month of November 2016, we had written a blog making a case for the inefficacy of regulating information that is available on the internet. Prior to that, we had also written this blog on the online sale of sex determination. Although societal reformation is the real solution, mitigating influencing factors is crucial. The Director of Centre for Social Research, Dr. Ranjana Kumari is of the opinion that banning selective online advertisements is a welcome step because promoting a product which is used immorally is counter-productive for the issue of disproportionate sex ratio. Structured monitoring of the ban will not only stop promotion of sex selection but also filter out products and methods that are not medically safe.
Dr. Manasi Mishra works on the issue of female feticide as a representative of the Centre of Social Research (CSR). She has been leading ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, as CSR is the Nodal Agency of the Government that is responsible for 5 Program districts in Haryana. Dr. Mishra is of the opinion that access of the product should be prohibited and promotion for unethical use of sex selection has to be discouraged. The nexus of sex selection is insidious because of filial involvement and cover-up in the matter. Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are known to ship ‘sex selection kits’ to their kith and kin in India. Air Freight of blood samples to Canada through agencies in India are expedited ways of informing the family about the sex of the child.
In the earlier blog, I wrote how banning online advertisements is putting the cart before the horse. There is supply because there is an unethical demand in India. Some countries in the world find themselves ahead of the gender emancipation curve. If in those countries, products that reveal sex of the child in its pre-natal stage are used; then it is surely not for female foeticide. Looking at the recent Supreme Court statement, I have realized the need to tackle this as a grey area problem. The product is not a problem, its misuse is.