The gender identity of the unborn child cannot be disclosed

The High Court ruled that the gender identity of the unborn child cannot be revealed. At the same time, the Ministry of Health has been instructed to save the database of test reports of unborn children. Hearing a writ petition on Sunday (February 25), the court directed the government to take necessary measures to ensure that hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centers in the country discourage gender identification during pregnancy and strictly follow the guidelines.

The matter was confirmed by the writ applicant lawyer Ishrat Hasan. He said that the High Court has banned revealing the gender identity of the unborn child in Bangladesh. A High Court bench comprising Justice Naima Haider and Justice Qazi Zeenat Haque passed the verdict after hearing a four-year-old writ petition seeking a direction to ban prenatal gender identification for the protection of children and expectant mothers.

It is to be noted that on January 26, 2020, Supreme Court lawyer Ishrat Hasan filed a public interest writ in the High Court asking for the necessary instructions to stop the sale, transfer or operation of the machine used for determining the gender of the unborn child and identifying the gender of the unborn child. After hearing that writ, on February 3, 2020, another bench of the High Court issued a rule seeking to know why the policy should not be made to prevent gender identification of unborn children.

During the hearing of the rule, the health department filed a guideline in the High Court on January 29 this year, saying that gender identification during pregnancy is discouraged. The title of the guideline is ‘National Guidelines for the Prevention of Son Preference and the Risk of Gender-Biased Sex Selection, 2022’. Lawyer Ishrat Hasan heard the writ in court. Deputy Attorney General Amit Das Gupta and lawyer Tirtha Salil Pal appeared for the state and the Department of Health.