Rumor has it that Shah Rukh Khan and his wife Gauri are expecting their third child. And if gossip proves correct, it’s a boy. While this would be good news, of no negative consequence in most countries, in India there is a problem: gender testing of unborn babies is illegal.
Though de rigueur for expecting parents in many countries, the procedure is banned in India to prevent gendercide, which is rife in the subcontinent because of a cultural preference for boys. Indeed, India’s 2011 census revealed troubling results stemming from this trend: there were 914 girls for every 1,000 boys under age 6.
Maharashtra state health minister Suresh Shetty has called for officials to investigate the report that the Khans, who already have two teenage children – son Aryan and daughter Suhana – have checked the sex of a third child they are having through a surrogate mother.
According to a friend of the Khans, the Bollywood power couple reportedly consulted with the same doctor about surrogacy who worked with Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao in the birth of their baby Azad.
An unnamed Indian medical NGO informed authorities of the allegations, following which the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) wrote to the health ministry to demand an investigation.
Dr. Jignesh Thakkar of the IRIA said: “We want to know the truth, and if it is true how (the gender) came out and who told it.”
Thakkar added: “If news reports are true, then it is clear that celebrities can get away with breaking the law,” he added.
The BBC points out that there is the possibility that the couple legally had the ultrasound done in another country. Regardless, IRIA wants to get to the bottom of the matter, emphasizing the law’s impartiality.
An IRIA spokesperson told the BBC: “These rules are applicable to one and all… there cannot be one rule for the rich and one for ordinary people.”
The 47-year-old Bollywood luminary, who tops the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list with annual earnings estimated at $37.7 million, has starred in around 75 Hindi films to date, including many blockbusters. Khan is currently wrapping up Chennai Express, a romantic comedy costarring Rohit Shetty. He has also been acknowledged for his humanitarian work and was honored by Yale University last year for his activism.