Abhey
Supreme Court comes to the rescue of women - Directs shutdown of "Sterilization Camps"
Abhey Narula 27 Sep 2016

Supreme Court comes to the rescue of women - Directs shutdown of

After years of torture that resulted in deaths of thousands of rural and poor women at the hands of government-run sterilization camps, the Supreme Court has directed the government to discontinue these camps and set a time frame of three years to achieve this.

Apart from this, the court has proposed the idea of the framing of a National Health Policy and asked the Centre to take a decision on it by 31 December. Not only this, the court has also supported compensation fixed under the Family Planning Indemnity Scheme (FPIS) to be doubled and shared equally by the central and state government.

In order to ensure accountability of doctors approved for carrying out the sterilization procedure, a list with a state-wise, or region-wise panel of doctors will not have to be accessible on the website of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare which must be updated from time to time.

The court had ruled on a petition brought by Devika Biswas, challenging the sterilization procedure of the country based on a particular instance in 2012 when as many as 53 women underwent a sterilization procedure carried out by one doctor within a span of two hours in a camp with highly unsanitary conditions in Bihar.

Through further investigation, she found that the procedure had been performed in the absence of pre-operative tests on proposed patients, without any counselling about the outcome and potential dangers of the procedure.

Shockingly enough, it was found that the sterilization procedure was carried out in pathetic conditions such as the procedure being carried out at a school and not a govt or private hospital, running water was not available, surgeon not using gloves, and it being carried out under a torch light with the women placed on the school desk.

It was further contended that the campaign for sterilization was effectively a campaign for female sterilization. This could be seen through a 97% of sterilization being done on women.

The government was also pulled up for not playing a dominant role in the sterilization campaign. This could be seen through inadequate monitoring of camps and health centers, accountability measures not being in place and the rights of thousands of women who undergo the procedure being violated.

 

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