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Q. Need to end oppressive practice of sterilising women: In the backdrop of Supreme Court order on oppressive practice of sterilisation, discuss whole issue.
Sep 17, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :


Recently Supreme Court of India of has directed the central government to finalise the National Health Policy by end of December 2016 and end mass sterilisation camps. In its order court observed that the poor and tribal men and women cannot be reduced to mere statistics in the country's population control campaigns. Court has ordered in the backdrop of the increasing number of sterilisation deaths in mass camps.

Issues related to mass sterilisation-

  • A significant number of women have died due to the oppressive practice of sterilising women during mass sterilisation camps the past three years.
  • Mass sterilisation camps were perverse products of the Centre's population control campaigns driven by informal targets and incentives.
  • These camps infringe on the reproductive freedoms of the most vulnerable groups of society who’s economic and social conditions make them easy targets to coercion.
  • Without informing the impact and consequences of a sterilisation procedure, by only offering financial incentives and subjecting women to permanent contraceptives is regressive action by government in modern society.
  • Even after many disasters states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Kerala did not take the question of mismanagement in sterilisation camps seriously.
  • Similarly many times central government ignored its role in the issue of sterilisation as a mere public health issue coming under the States' watch.

What needs to be done-?

  • It is not coercion, but the improved access, education and empowerment should be guiding factor behind government’s population control campaign.
  • There should be mandatory explanation to the patient, in his or her local language, about the impact and consequences of a sterilisation procedure.
  • As directed by apex court, governments need to prepare national health policy to end oppressive practice of sterilisation of women.
  • With respect to sterilisation, government should publish the list of approved doctors at the State and regional levels and members of quality assurance committees, and details of compensation claims etc in public forum.
  • Similarly compensation for losses, including deaths, should be raised substantially.
  • In the whole process central and state governments should act in coordination with each other.


In the last few years various cases of deaths were observed in mass sterilisation cases. In this backdrop apex court has rightly directed centre to end oppressive sterilisation camps and finalise national health policy. Now buck stops with central government, hence it should finalise the national health policy soon. And it should take all steps to end this regressive practice and instead it should promote awareness, education, employment etc.

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