New Delhi: Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to do away with sterilisation camps within three years and strengthen the primary healthcare centre system, saying "it is time that women and men are treated with respect and dignity and not as mere statistics in the sterilization programme".
The verdict was delivered when the court was dealing with a PIL which had brought to light the mismanagement of sterilisation camps which had led to the death of several persons in recent years in many states.
"The Union of India is directed to persuade the State Governments to halt the system of holding sterilisation camps as has been done by at least four States across the country.
"In any event, the Union of India should adhere to its view that sterilisation camps will be stopped within a period of three years," a bench of Justices M B Lokur and U U Lalit said.
The apex court said that sterilisation surgeries, despite not being complicated, have caused several deaths across the country.
"Sterilisation surgery does not appear to be complicated and yet several deaths have taken place across the country over the years. Undoubtedly, this needs looking into by the
Government of India and the State Governments and remedial and corrective steps need to be taken.
"Persons who are negligent in the performance of their duties must be held accountable and the victims and their families provided for. It is time that women and men are treated with respect and dignity and not as mere statistics in the sterilisation program," the 51-page verdict, written by Justice Lokur, said.