Bengaluru: Chief Justice of India HL Dattu on Saturday raised concerns over the approach of government towards implementation of family planning schemes in the backdrop of the Chhattisgarh botched sterilisation surgery case that left 13 women dead.
"The death of thirteen women at a sterilisation camp in Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh is a grim reminder of the extent of challenge before us. It raises very important and serious questions about government's approach towards family planning," he said at the inauguration of the 35th Convention of International Federation of Women Lawyers here.
The sterilisation surgeries at Bilaspur's government-run medical camps on November 8 have so far claimed lives of 13 young women and left nearly 138 ill.
The incident came to light after a large number of women were admitted to different hospitals after they complained of complications following sterilisation surgery at the camp held at a private hospital in Pendari village on outskirts of Bilaspur town on November 8.
Justice Dattu rued that "by merely arresting and prosecuting the doctor concerned misses the larger point."
The Chief Justice of India said the state's interference in the reproductive autonomy of women must be of highest standard of constitutional safeguards.
Though the ghost of coercive sterilisation is one and truly worrying, the country needs to raise concerns over adopting unacceptable models of incentivising sterilisation, Justice Dattu added.
"We need to be accurately aware of the disproportionate burden that sterilisation places on women since statistics have revealed that the proportions of women undergoing sterilisation is far higher than that of the men," he said.
All of these are immense challenges facing India and it requires every section of the society to come together in a concerted effort to ensure equal participation of women in various aspects of India's democracy, Dattu said.