Reproductive Rights

Failed Sterlisation and Medical Negligence:the high court in its judgement stated that,

A doctor does not give a contractual warranty. He/she is not an insurer against all possible risks. He/she does not provide insurance that there would be no pregnancy after sterilisation operation. There is a chance of sterile being turned into fertile even after the operation has been done with due care and caution. A doctor is not liable in negligence because someone of greater skill and knowledge would have prescribed different treatment or “operated in a different way”. He/She has to show only a reasonable standard of care. He/She cannot be held guilty for error of judgment. Considerable deference is paid to the practices of the professions (particularly medical profession) as established by expert evidence and the Court should not attempt to put itself in the shoes of the surgeon or other professional man.

Issue of Consent:the landmark case in this respect is Arun Balakrishnan Iyer and Anr vs.Soni Hospital and Ors

Status of Foetus:In Ms.X vs. Mr. Z and Anr, the Delhi High Court held that an aborted foetus was not a part of a body of women and allowed the DNA test of the aborted foetus at the instance of the husband though the application was opposed by the wife and she had stated that it would be the invasion of her privacy to carry out the DNA test on the aborted foetus.

Misuse of Medical Technology:

  • For effective implementation of the PNDT Act, information should be published by way of advertisements as well as on electronic media. This process should be continued till there is awareness in public that there should not be any discrimination between male and female child.
  • Quarterly reports by the appropriate authority, which are submitted to the Supervisory Board should be consolidated and published annually for information of the public at large.
  • Appropriate authorities shall maintain the records of all the meetings of the Advisory Committees.
  • The National Monitoring and Inspection Committee constituted by the Central Government for conducting periodic inspection shall continue to function till the Act is effectively implemented. The reports of this Committee be placed before the Central Supervisory Board and State Supervisory Board for any further action.
  • As provided under Rule 17(3), public would have access to the records maintained by different bodies constituted under the Act.
  • Central Supervisory Board would ensure that the following States appoint the State Supervisory Board as per the requirement of Section 16A. 1. Delhi 2. Himachal Pradesh 3. Tamil Nadu 4. Tripura 5. Uttar Pradesh.
  • As per requirement of Section 17(3)(a), the Central Supervisory Board would ensure that the following States appoint the multi-member appropriate authorities: 1. Jharkhand 2. Maharashtra 3. Tripura 4. Tamil Nadu 5. Uttar Pradesh

It will be open to the parties to approach this Court in case of any difficulty in implementing the aforesaid directions.

Failure of Vasecotmy and Medical Negligence:

Drawing upon best practices from the state affidavits, the Court directed all states to take the following steps:

  1. Establish an approved panel of doctors to carry out sterilizations in accordance with uniform qualification criteria to be laid down by the central government;
  2. Prepare and circulate a checklist of patient data that every doctor must complete before conducting a sterilization procedure;
  3. Circulate uniform copies of a patient consent form, based on the model used by the State of Uttar Pradesh;
  4. Set up a quality assurance committee to issue biannual reports;
  5. Maintain overall statistics about sterilization procedures and resulting deaths;
  6. Hold an inquiry and take punitive action in every case where the Sterilization Guidelines are breached; and
  7. Bring into effect an insurance policy, based on the model followed by the State of Tamil Nadu

Clinical Research and Trials:

‘Indian women could not be used as guinea pigs...’’stated Justice A.S. Anand, when he pronounced his judgement banning the use and sale of Quinacrine for female sterilisation, was only reiterating a basic article of human rights.

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