“Circular dated 26.05.2017 which requires a PVTG person to obtain certificate from the Sub Divisional Magistrate in order to undergo sterilization amounts to government intrusion and violation of the right to privacy.”
The Chhattisgarh High Court recently quashed government circulars that restrained Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) from ‘family planning’ by undergoing sterilization.
Various members belonging to primitive tribal group had challenged a 1979 Circular (by Madhya Pradesh Government) that barred them from availing the facility of undergoing family planning procedure by tubectomy or vasectomy etc. They had also challenged the modified circular brought in by the state which permitted sterilization only with prior permission of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.
They contended that the requirement that a PVTG person obtain a certificate from the Sub Divisional Magistrate in order to undergo sterilization amounts to government intrusion and violation of the right to privacy. Relying on Supreme Court judgments, they contended that women have the right to make reproductive choices.
They further submitted that, to their knowledge, no PVTG has been granted permission despite the new circular, which states that the Sub Divisional Magistrate has the power to grant permission for sterilization.
Referring to a study conducted by Jan Swasthaya Sahyog, they submitted: “The study further found that unavailability of sterilisation and contraception services made women often opt for induced abortion. Among those who had induced abortions, most were practised using unsafe methods which include self-medication to terminate pregnancy, massaging the stomach or consuming jadi-buti to induce the abortion.”
The division bench of the high court comprising of Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi and Justice Parth Prateem Sahu quashed both the circulars, observing that they were in agreement of these contentions raised in the petition.