BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: South Asia
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Wednesday, 26 April, 2000, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Blow for Indian birth control
By Jyotsna Singh in Delhi

The Indian Supreme Court has asked the state government in Haryana to pay damages to a woman who gave birth to a child - despite undergoing a sterilisation programme at a state-owned hospital.

Santra Devi, a mother of seven children, decided to avail herself of a government-sponsored sterilisation programme.

Indian children
Obsevers say the ruling is a blow for family planning
But to her dismay, she found herself pregnant again and gave birth to a girl.

She and her husband decided to sue the hospital and the government.

The Supreme Court has now ruled in favour of the couple, saying that the government must pay the expenses of the unwanted child because it was ultimately liable for the failure of the sterilisation scheme.

The court has asked the government to pay the child's expenses until it adulthood.

The court also said that the doctor who performed the operation must be held responsible for damages if he was negligent and caused another birth in the family, adding to their economic burden.

Birth control plans

Observers say the ruling adds a new dimension to government-sponsored family planning programmes which have often come under attack for being ineffective.

Complaints of negligence at government hospitals - particularly with sterilisation programmes that are free - are common.

Some observers say that the ruling makes a mockery of the government's efforts at birth control.

According to official estimates, the country's population is expected to touch one billion next month and the government faces a daunting task if it is successful in checking India's spiralling growth rate.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
South Asia Contents

Country profiles
See also:

29 Jun 99 | World population
Planet feels strains of people pressure
01 Jul 99 | World population
Population pressure and conflict
30 Mar 00 | South Asia
Maharashtra sets family size for jobs
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories