Advancement and empowerment of women has been a leading objective of state policy in India ever since the attainment of Independence in 1947. The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles of State Policy. The Constitution t only grants equality to women, but also empowers the state to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women. Gender equality is a constituent of development as well as an instrument of development. No country can be deemed developed if half of its population is severely disadvantaged in terms of basic needs, livelihood options, access to kwledge and political voice. A natural corollary of ensuring gender equality is the elimination of gender discrimination. The problem of missing girl child pertains to unborn girl children in their mothers' wombs, who are deliberately disposed of (in contravention of the existing laws) before birth only because they are female. Their disposal before birth is extreme instance of gender discrimination, forbidden both by domestic and international laws and conventions. The burgeoning size of this missing group is w receiving attention as a factor crucial to the health of the social fabric and to the well-being of communities. 2011 Census data shows that the sex ratio for children below 6 years (i.e. number of girls for every 1,000 boys) dropped from 927 in 2001 to a dismal 914 in 2011. This decline is unabated since 1961 Census. This book provides deep insights into the problem of female foeticide in India. It explains and examines the reasons for its rapid growth, laws to safeguard the rights of women and the landmark judgements of courts in this context. Role of civil society and media has also been highlighted in improving the status of Indian women.
Nishant Anand is a practicing advocate at the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Delhi. He graduated from Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies (Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University), Delhi. His key areas of practice include service laws, labor and industrial laws and matrimonial laws. He is a member of the Bar Association of India; Supreme Court Bar Association and Delhi High Court Bar Association.