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HomeLegal NewsSupreme Court directs State and Union territories to strictly implement Centre’s guidelines...

Supreme Court directs State and Union territories to strictly implement Centre’s guidelines to stop “Unnecessary Hysterectomies”

New Delhi : The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice J B Pardiwala  while disposing of the PIL in the matter of Dr. Narendra Gupta v/s  Union of India and others  directed all the State and Union territories Governments to implement strictly the comprehensive guidelines formulated by Ministry of Health and family welfare within three months to check “Unnecessary Hysterectomies”. The PIL was filled by Dr.Narendra Gupta stating that illegal and forced hysterectomies were being  performed in the States of Bihar, Chhattisgarh & Rajasthan on several women living below the federal poverty line for raking in high insurance fees from Government under various health insurance scheme.

The Petitioner alleged that due to the inadequate government healthcare programs these women had to travel long distance to seek medical check-ups in private hospitals where they were  forced into agreeing to have their uterus removed so that the hospital could get high insurance fees from the government under various health insurance schemes. It was contended that this led to their menstrual health problems get worse and exposed them to increased risk of cancer. It was argued that this violated their fundamental rights under article 1415 and 21 and the PIL sought  to establish mechanism for monitoring, inspecting and holding accountable the private healthcare industry as well monitor &  regulate the RashtriyaSwasthya Bima Yojana scheme. It also sought  compensation for medical costs and violation of constitutional rights, improved rural healthcare infrastructure and suspension of doctors involved in such practice and holding them criminally liable.

While on the other hand Solicitor General on behalf of the Mohfw told the court that comprehensive guidelines had been framed to regulate unnecessary hysterectomies and the challenges were identified & to resolve the same a comprehensive mechanism was also laid down. The guidelines also proposed to have a strong mechanism to monitor and evaluate. Also, the law officer told the bench that center’s plan to tackle the problem included a grievance portal & creation of a national, state, and district-level hysterectomy monitoring committees to regulate the same especially for women aged below 40.

The court observed that since sufficient steps has been taken by the Union government to frame guidelines and identify the instances of hysterectomies without the consent of women there is no reason to keep the petition alive and directed the Centre to address the issue in accordance with the guidelines and ensure that state & UT’s follow the guidelines. Before concluding the CJI emphasized on two suggestions given by petitioner first, that the hysterectomies on women under the age of 40 years should only be conducted after two doctors certify it and second blacklisting hospitals and healthcare facilities which cause women get hysterectomies done without their consent.Further the court said that a national committee is required to review the landscape and take necessary  decisions once every six months.