In­dian man loses long le­gal bat­tle over the fact that he was ever born

The China Post - - FEATURE -

An In­dian man who sued the author­i­ties over his own birth be­cause his mother con­ceived af­ter un­der­go­ing ster­il­iza­tion in a state clinic, has lost his decades- long le­gal bat­tle.

Ra­jesh Laljib­hai Pa­tel’s mother launched a law­suit against the gov­ern­ment of In­dia’s western Gu­jarat state two years af­ter he was born in 1985.

Vi­juben Pa­tel, who al­ready had four chil­dren, had un­der­gone a ster­il­iza­tion pro­ce­dure at a camp or­ga­nized by author­i­ties in the state six years ear­lier.

She ar­gued that the gov­ern­ment should pay for her son’s main­te­nance, cit­ing med­i­cal neg­li­gence, and named him as a plain­tiff in the case even though he was just two years old at the time.

In­dia’s le­gal sys­tem moves no­to­ri­ously slowly and it was not un­til 1992 that the court ruled in her fa­vor, or­der­ing author­i­ties to pay her 25,000 ru­pees ( about US$ 400).

But the author­i­ties ap­pealed, and a higher court fi­nally or­dered the fam­ily to re­pay the money in De­cem­ber last year — by which time Ra­jesh had grown up and his mother had died.

Ra­jesh, now a soldier in the In­dian army, launched a counter- ap­peal in April.

His lawyer E. E. Saiyed told AFP said he wanted to achieve jus­tice for his late mother.

But the Gu­jarat high court re­jected his ap­peal, rul­ing that ster­il­iza­tion car­ried a mar­ginal rate of fail­ure and his birth did not con­sti­tute med­i­cal neg­li­gence.

“Prima fa­cie it ap­pears that all meth­ods of fam­ily plan­ning have small but vary­ing de­grees of pos­si­bil­ity of fail­ure,” Jus­tice Akil Kureshi said in his judg­ment, adding that Ra­jesh will have to re­pay the 25,000 ru­pees given to his mother.

In­dia, which is set to be­come the world’s most pop­u­lated coun­try in the next decade, has been try­ing for decades to curb pop­u­la­tion growth.

While the na­tional gov­ern­ment of­fi­cially aban­doned tar­gets for fam­ily plan­ning in 1996, lo­cal author­i­ties still of­fer cash in­cen­tives to women who un­dergo ster­il­iza­tion.

Rights groups s ay t his amounts to co­er­cion. The prob­lem was high­lighted last year when 13 women died af­ter a gov­ern­ment- run mass ster­il­iza­tion pro­gram in the cen­tral state of Ch­hat­tis­garh.

The pro­ce­dure in­volves tubal lig­a­tion, or ty­ing of the fal­lop­ian tubes, and the fail­ure rate is around 1 per­cent.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.