Strange Fact

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‘The meth­ods of ster­il­iza­tion so far known to med­i­cal science are not 100 per cent safe and se­cure. In spite of the op­er­a­tion hav­ing been suc­cess­fully per­formed and with­out any neg­li­gence on the part of the sur­geon, the ster­il­ized woman can be­come preg­nant due to nat­u­ral causes, so say the med­i­cal ex­perts.

Hence, when­ever any ques­tion comes be­fore the courts for ad­mis­sion, it is ob­served that court staff re­jects the case and do not even reg­is­ter a com­plaint. It is of­ten ar­gued that there can­not be any al­le­ga­tion of neg­li­gence in cases of ster­il­iza­tion op­er­a­tion.

How­ever, the courts can­not do that. Although it is an es­tab­lished sci­en­tific the­ory that women may con­ceive af­ter med­i­cal ster­il­iza­tion due to var­i­ous nat­u­ral rea­sons, the Na­tional Com­mis­sion thor­oughly dis­cussed and in­ves­ti­gated a case to fig­ure out if ster­il­iza­tion has failed due to nat­u­ral rea­sons or be­cause of sur­geon’s neg­li­gence. The com­mis­sion es­tab­lished that neg­li­gence is to be thor­oughly checked on the ba­sis of ev­i­dence – it is rather the duty of the com­mis­sion to fig­ure out whether preg­nancy oc­curred due to nat­u­ral rea­sons or due to sur­geon’s neg­li­gence.

The Act

In­dian Pe­nal Code, 1860, in cer­tain cir­cum­stances and within a pe­riod of 20 weeks of the length of preg­nancy.

Ex­pla­na­tion II ap­pended to Subsec­tion (2) of Sec­tion 3 says: Where any preg­nancy oc­curs as a re­sult of fail­ure of any de­vice or method used by any mar­ried woman or her hus­band for the pur­pose of lim­it­ing the num­ber of chil­dren, the an­guish caused by such un­wanted preg­nancy may be pre­sumed to con­sti­tute a grave in­jury to the men­tal health of the preg­nant woman. And that pro­vides un­der the law a valid and legal ground for ter­mi­na­tion of preg­nancy. If the woman has suf­fered an un­wanted preg­nancy, it can be ter­mi­nated and this is legal and per­mis­si­ble un­der Med­i­cal Ter­mi­na­tion of Preg­nancy Act, 1971.’

The mat­ter of Mith­lesh ver­sus Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer of Ghazi­abad, de­cided in Na­tional Com­mis­sion in Septem­ber 2014, is an in­ter­est­ing case that moved courts for a decade to reach a res­o­lu­tion.

The op­er­a­tion of the pe­ti­tioner was con­ducted by Dr Manju Sharma at Pri­mary Health Cen­tre,

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