‘Select’ Your Baby

Successful advocacy with the Government by CERS led to a ban on an unfair trade practice.

‘Select’ is an ayurvedic tablet which claimed to do the unbelievable: change the sex of the fetus in the womb ! Just pop a few pills in the early months of pregnancy and the mother has a baby of the sex that she desires. Cashing on the age-old longing of mankind for a male child, M/s. Vasu Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd., Bajuwa, Vadodara, the manufacturer, advertised ‘Select’ as a tablet which would help a woman get a male child. The advertisement went on to proclaim that ‘Select’ supported family planning, discouraged the dowry system and fulfilled the couple’s desire for a male child.

This advertisement is an example of the ridiculous lengths a manufacturer will go to sell his products. Reacting to an advertisement in a leading Gujarati newspaper, CERS filed a complaint before the National Commission, New Delhi, against M/s. Vasu Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. with the pleas that the manufacture and sale of ‘Select’ be stopped, corrective advertisements be issued in all leading Gujarati and national newspapers, stating that the manufacturers had indulged in unfair trade practices for promoting the sale of ‘Select’, and that consumers who had used ‘Select’ as advised but did not get a male child, should have their money refunded. CERS lobbied with the Gujarat State Government requesting it to ban ‘Select’.

On 5 June 1991, the Gujarat government took a landmark decision – it issued an order banning the manufacture and sale of ‘Select’.

The ‘Select’ case brings to light an important fact. Compared to long drawn litigation, advocacy with administrators offers a better, quicker and inexpensive remedy.

Lobbying too has been one of the major tools for CERS in resolving either individal complaints or issues of larger public interest.

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