Kolkata: Three in-laws of a pregnant woman in West Bengal were arrested for allegedly torturing her to go for a pre-natal sex determination test, even as the state women's commission Tuesday lambasted the police for their alleged ignorance that such a test was illegal.
The 29-year-old housewife, Ranjana Prasad, along with her husband Rabindra Prasad had lodged the complaint before the Bally police station in Howrah district Aug 2, following which her father-in-law Govind Prasad, mother-in-law Savitri and brother-in-law Ram Jatan Prasad were arrested.
"I was completely aghast when the officer-in-charge (Dipak Sarkar) told me that he was not aware that pre-natal sex determination was illegal and punishable under the law," West Bengal Commission for Women chairperson Sunanda Mukherjee told IANS.
Mukherjee said the commission will take steps to ensure that proceedings are initiated against the police officer for being "ignorant of a very basic law".
When contacted, Sarkar refused to comment.
A contravention of the provisions of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex-Selection) Act, 1994, is punishable with an imprisonment of three years.
The accused, however, have been booked only under the Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 498A (mental and physical torture) of the Indian Penal Code and charges under the anti-sex selection Act have not been included.
Although the complaint was made Aug 2, the police are still in the dark about the medical centre where Ranjana was forced to undergo the test at an earlier occasion in 2010.
"We have arrested three people in the case and the probe is on. The hospital where she underwent the test earlier is still to be identified," Howrah Deputy Commissioner (Headquarters) Nishat Pervez said.
Ranjana's husband Rabindra Prasad lodged the complaint after the woman was seriously beaten up by her in-laws after she refused to go for the test.
The complaint also alleged that Ranjana was forced to take the test in 2010 and subsequently made to abort after the results showed it was a baby girl.
The woman who had given birth to a girl in 2009 and conceived for a third time in November 2011, was allegedly being tortured and pressurised to undergo another sex determination test.
Mukherjee said she will talk to the authorities concerned to ensure all relevant laws are taught to the police at the police academy.