‘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.
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,