madras high court

Madras High Court: In a writ petition filed directing the respondents pay Rs. 25,00,000/- towards compensation to the petitioner for the medical negligence caused to the petitioner resulting in lifetime financial constrains caused to her to bring up her third child, B. Pugalendhi, has passed the following order:

  • Petitioner is entitled to compensation of Rs. 3,00,000/-.
  • Respondents must provide free education to the third child of the petitioner, either in a Government School or in a Private School. The fees already paid, if any, shall be refunded and all the expenses on books, stationery, uniforms and other miscellaneous educational expenses shall also be met by the respondents.
  • Respondents must pay a sum of Rs. 1,20,000/- per year to meet the child’s need for food and proper up-bringing till he completes his graduation or attains 21 years, whichever is earlier.

In the case at hand, the petitioner is a housewife, and her husband is an Agricultural cooli. She gave birth to two children and after her second delivery in the Hospital (Respondent), the petitioner underwent Puerperal Sterilization by Tubectomy to avoid further pregnancy. However, the petitioner was conceived again in the month gave birth to a third child. Thereafter, the petitioner again underwent the same procedure to prevent future pregnancy. With a grievance that the petitioner underwent another surgery and has to rear up another child due to the medical negligence of the respondents, she has made representations to the respondents seeking compensation. Since there was no proper response, she filed this writ petition.

The Court said that it cannot be brushed aside that without there being any negligence or carelessness on the part of the Doctor who performed the sterilization operation on the petitioner, she gave birth naturally. In fact, after the third delivery, the petitioner underwent the very same procedure for the second time and after the same, she did not conceive. Therefore, the Doctor who performed the sterilization operation on the petitioner for the first time, did not perform the duty to the best of her ability and with due care and caution. Further, due to this, the petitioner was made to suffer mental pain, agony and burden of financial liability.

The respondents referred to the Government Order dated 28-05-2014, and submitted that as per the scheme, the petitioner is entitled to compensation of Rs. 30,000/-. He further submitted that there was no element of tort involved nor had the petitioner suffered any loss, which could be compensated in terms of money.

The Court rejected this contention of the respondents and said that the implementation of the family planning programme is directly in the hands of the Government, including the Medical Officers. The Medical Officers entrusted with the implementation of this Programme cannot, through their negligent acts in not performing the complete sterilization operation, sabotage the scheme of national importance. Further, it said that the petitioner also offered herself voluntarily for sterilization operation, however, things went sideways due to improper performance of the Doctor in conducting the sterilization operation, by which, she gave birth to the third child.

Placing reliance on Dhanam v. Secretary to Government, Health & Family Welfare Department Writ Petition No. 22349 of 2018 and considering the economic and social background of the petitioner and other circumstances, the Court granted compensation of Rs. 3,00,000/- to the petitioner.

[Vasuki v Secretary to Government, 2023 SCC OnLine Mad 2968, Order dated 28-04-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner: Advocate.S. Srinivasa Raghavan;

For Respondents: Additional Government Pleader T. Vilavankothai.

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