[Childbirth after sterilization] Orissa HC orders Rs. 30K compensation to woman who delivered child after sterilization, considering economic status

Orissa High Court

Orissa High Court: In a petition under Articles 226 & 227 of the Constitution of India, seeking the issuance of notices to the opposing parties and grant of a writ of mandamus, certiorari or any other suitable writ to give adequate compensation for the negligence attributed to the opposing party and to safeguard the future welfare of the unborn child in the mother’s womb, Dr. S.K Panigrahi, J. said that the contention raised by the petitioner lacked foundation in the law but considering the petitioner’s financial status, disposed of the writ petition by directing the opposite party to pay Rs. 30,000/- as compensation within 2 months from the date of the order.


The Department of Health, Orissa, encouraged the petitioner and the general public to go for family planning sterilization. The Green Card scheme was promoted by the State, wherein having two-children or fewer were promoted, through various incentives like providing landed properties, reservation of seats in higher education for those two children.

Following the incentives provided under this program, the petitioner opted for a sterilization procedure, assured of its success and the prevention of future conception. However, post-operation, the petitioner endured physical discomfort, which the doctor reassured was indicative of a successful procedure. Despite this assurance, the petitioner exhibited signs of conception five months post-operation, later confirmed by the pathologist at Cuttack City Hospital.

Subsequently, the petitioner gave birth to a third girl child, a year after the sterilization procedure.

Thus, the petitioner sought a remedy for the negligence and breach of duty by the medical professionals involved, leading to an unintended pregnancy despite undergoing sterilization.

Analysis and Decision

The Court relied on State of Punjab v. Shiv Ram, (2005) SCC Online SC 1234, wherein, the issue was squarely covered by. The Court noted that in Shiv Ram (supra) it was laid down that none of the methods of sterilization is foolproof or guarantees 100% success and the causes for failure can well be attributable to the natural functioning of the human body and not necessarily attributable to any failure on part of the surgeon. It was also said that the claim for compensation in cases of failed sterilization operation arises on account of negligence of the surgeon and not on account of childbirth. Therefore, the Court said that considering the facts and circumstances of the instant case, the petitioner’s case had no legal basis. However, considering the poor economic status of the petitioner and the concessions granted by the opposing parties, the Court ordered compensation of Rs. 30,000 to be paid to the petitioner, within the period of two months from the date of the order.

[Moti Prava Mohanty v. State of Orissa., 2024 SCC OnLine Ori 1374, Decided on: 19-04-2024]

*Judgment Authored by: Justice SK Panigrahi

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the petitioner: Advocate RK Swain

For the respondent: ASC Sonak Mishra

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