DECLINING MALE FEMALE RATIO IN INDIA: A LEGAL PERSPECTIVE
Priyanka Vij and Nimanniyu Sharma, University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh
This report raises the sensitive issue of the declining male female ratio. The fact of this declining ratio indicates that there are millions of girls in India who fail to appear on the social scene, not figuratively, but in real demographic terms. The report enumerates that the gender ratio is on a decline in relation to new reproductive technologies, as they operate in India, is situated at the conjunction of several research issues. It locates the question of gender at a broader level, in the realm of western medical technological advancement as a harbinger of reproductive possibilities. It is more than the relationship of application of benevolent neutral technology in the aid of biology. Social and cultural meanings of both technology and biology mediate in their interface. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act and the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique prevention (PNDT) Act are discussed at some length because the recent manifestation of son preference and daughter non-preference needs to be understood in the context of these Acts. In this paper, I have attempted to estimate the magnitude of deficit of girls in India as a whole and in some of the female-disadvantaged casts. Sex selective abortions and increase in the number of female infanticide cases have become a significant social phenomenon in several parts of India. It transcends all castes, class and communities and even the North South dichotomy. The sex differential in mortality in India, resulting from the discriminatory treatment received by girls and women, more than offsets their natural or biological advantage over men. Within India, the social practices and cultural ethos that undervalue women are stronger in some regions than in others. The report, on the whole, attempts to provide an overview of the multiplex dimensions of the issue under consideration.