A 28-year-old mother of four has moved the Delhi High Court seeking compensation from the Delhi government for the failure of a parivar seva clinic run by it to sterilise her, leading to her fourth pregnancy. The petition, which seeks implementation of the Centre’s Family Planning Indemnity Scheme, was listed for hearing in the court of Justice Vibhu Bakhru on Friday. Since Justice Bakhru was not available on that day, the woman’s plea has been listed for hearing on January 16.
According to the woman’s plea, filed through advocate Sija Nair Pal, she underwent the sterilisation procedure on August 9, last year. However, in May when she went to the clinic for a check up it was found that she was 14 weeks pregnant, the plea said. She alleged that the clinic did not provide her with any “pre or post-sterilisation counselling about the procedure, potential risks or post-surgery care or possibility of failure”.
She has contended in her plea that the Standards of Male and Female Sterilisation Services 2006 of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare “clearly state that a client who becomes pregnant after the surgery should be offered medical termination of her pregnancy and repeat sterilisation surgery or should be medically supported throughout the pregnancy if she so wishes”.
“The respondents (Delhi government, its health department and the clinic), however, did not offer any medical support to the petitioner throughout the pregnancy,” the plea said, adding that the clinic offered to carry out an abortion for Rs 3,000. As she could not afford the cost of abortion, she decided to go ahead with her pregnancy and on November 8 gave birth to a baby girl at Satyawadi Raja Harish Chandra Hospital in Narela here, the petition said.
It also said that she had filed a claim for compensation at the clinic in July, but till date no response has been received regarding its status, when under the scheme the time to be taken for processing is 30 days. According to the petitioner, under the Centre’s scheme, Rs 30,000 is the compensation provided for failure of sterilisation procedure. Apart from the amount provided under the scheme, she has also sought compensation for the mental agony suffered by her in going ahead with an “unwanted” or “forced” pregnancy.