Court rejects relief to sterilised woman who gave birth

24 December, 2016

Terming sterilisation not a 100 per cent safe and secure procedure, the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission declined a plea of a woman who had claimed compensation from a city-based hospital after she conceived despite undergoing the procedure. 

In February 2002, Sunita gave birth to her third child after which she decided to opt for family planning. The doctors advised her to go for sterilisation to which she and husband consented. However, after five years of the operation she conceived once again.

She alleged that the failure of the procedure had occurred due to the carelessness and negligent attitude of doctors of the respondent hospital, which did not adhere to proper medical norms at the time of operation. It was also alleged that the negligence amounted to deficiency in service. "I had to face a lot of humiliation before friends and relatives," Sunita said.

 

Sunita had sought compensation of Rs 5 lakh towards deficiency in service on part of the hospital and Rs 10,000 for mental agony and Rs 5,000 towards litigation cost.

On the other hand, the counsel for the hospital told the court that the case was filed to extort money under the garb of provisions of the Act. The court was told that no medical negligence was proved on the part of the doctors as per the report of the expert medical opinion of GTB Hospital. 

"The complainant after the operation has enjoyed sexual activities for five years and did not conceive and there was no negligence in service on their part. Before the operation was done, the treating doctors had duly advised the appellant and her husband about the consequences the procedure," the counsel said. 

While declining her plea, the court observed that Sunita had herself stated that there was no pregnancy for five years after sterilisation. After getting knowledge of conception, in spite of having undergone sterilisation operation, she had opted for the child.

"She visited hospital only once. She was advised to go for Urine Pregnancy Test but she did not go for it and did not report further. In these circumstances, it ceases to be an unwanted child and as such the compensation for maintenance and upbringing of such a child cannot be claimed by her. If she was not interested in the child, as is alleged, she could have terminated pregnancy as this is legal and permissible under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971," the court said in its order.

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