Last week, the criminal trial of the surgeon who conducted laparoscopic tubectomies which resulted in the deaths of 13 women in Chhattisgarh was quashed by the Chhattisgarh High Court. After telling the Supreme Court in Devika Biswas’ case — a PIL filed by a social activist — that the prosecution would be conducted properly once the case ended, the State government assisted the doctor by refusing to grant sanction for prosecution. As a result, the prosecution was quashed.
On November 8, 2014, the surgeon and an assistant performed over 80 surgeries within 90 minutes at a State-run family planning camp, in an abandoned building near Bilaspur. Within 24 hours, many of the women began complaining of abdominal pain. Thirteen women died while 65 others were injured.
The State government responded petulantly to the Supreme Court’s decision of 2016 in Devika Biswas’ case — where the court had criticised governments for the manner in which sterilisation camps were run — by threatening to stop all such sterilisation operations in the rural areas. Women are now being forced to approach the prohibitively expensive private sector.