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The Government of India has initiated and established a series of laws, acts and regulations to safeguard the interest of the Indian girl child and women. Each of these listed below have a special relevance for the cause of the endangered girl child today.

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Did you know that India ranks 13 in the world when it comes to child marriages?

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act was implemented in 2007. This act strictly prohibits child  marriage, where the bride is under 18 years of age or the boy is younger than 21 years. Families or parents trying to marry underage girls are subject to action under this law and these marriages are therefore declared illegal.

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The Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (prohibition of sex selection) Act (PCPNDT) is a statute enacted to stop the female feticide that has resulted in declining female sex ratio in India. The PNDT Act provides for regulation of genetic counseling centers, genetic laboratories and genetic clinics and also regulates pre-natal diagnostic procedures while the medical professional running the genetic centre has to be registered under the PNDT Act. This Act also prohibits any kind of advertisements on pre-conception and pre-natal sex determination of foetus. The Act provides for three years imprisonment and fine upto ten thousand rupees as punishment.

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An Act to provide for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

(D) Code of Medical Ethics

Constituted by the Indian Parliament in the Medical Council Act, 1956, the relevant section of the Code of Medical Ethics states: On no account, sex determination test shall be undertaken with the intent to terminate the life of a female foetus developing in her mother’s womb, unless there are other absolute indications for termination of pregnancy as specified in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. Any act of termination of pregnancy of normal female foetus, amounting to female foeticide, shall be regarded as professional misconduct on the part of the physician leading to penal erasure besides rendering him liable to criminal proceedings as per the provisions of this Act (Clause 7.6). It is here important to note that the penalty for unindicated sex determination and female foeticide is striking off the name from the register apart from criminal action.

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The right to free and compulsory education for all of the age of 6 to 14 year remains one of the most important laws pertaining to children from both the genders. It states that every child from the ages of 6-14 years has a right to free and mandatory education. Moreover, no child is liable to pay any kind of fee or charges during this time that could prevent him/her from completing the basic, elementary education.

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