Sterilisation deaths: SC notice to Chhattisgarh

January 30, 2015 07:18 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:29 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Terming the deaths of over 10 women who underwent sterilisation procedure at government camps in Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh as a “tragedy”, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the State government to reveal steps taken to indemnify the victims and compensate them.

The Social Justice Bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Madan B. Lokur said the sterilisation deaths remained “fresh” in public memory, and steps have to be taken by both Centre and the State to disburse funds to the victims.

Besides the deaths, over 30 persons were reported critical after undergoing “faulty” sterilisation surgeries at a government-organised family planning camp in Bilaspur. Eighty-three women allegedly underwent the procedure in five hours at free sterilisation camps organised by the health department on November 8.

The Bench noted that the Bilaspur deaths occurred despite specific directives laid down by the apex court in 2005 in  Ramakant Rai versus Union of India , to ensure uniform norms, safety and quality assurance in sterilisation procedures.

In its 2005 order, the apex court had ordered creation of medical panels for conducting sterilisation procedures, uniform proforma for obtaining consent from patients and insurance policies.

Justice Lokur observed that the State has to honour the conditions of the Family Planning Indemnity Scheme framed by the Health Ministry, which includes cash compensation to patients for loss of wages, transportation, diet, drugs, dressing, etc, out of funds provided by the Centre to the States under the scheme.

The scheme provided for payment of an ex-gratia amount of Rs. 50,000 in the “unlikely” case of death due to medical complications post sterilisation.

“The State of Chhattisgarh has to detail steps taken to indemnify the persons who died in the recent tragedy at government camps at Bilaspur. What action has been taken against the doctors and what measures taken to make sterilisation safe,” the court ordered. The State should respond by April 17, 2015.

The Bench also sought the status of compensation to be paid by the State government to the victims.

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