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A PIL In Supreme Court Seeks A Policy For C-Section Deliveries

NEW DELHI: A petition under Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Central and State governments to formulate a policy for Cesarean deliveries.

The PIL, filed by advocate Dr. Ashutosh Garg, is scheduled to come up for hearing before the apex court on August 3.

The petition also sought a direction to the Central and State government to constitute a Medical Board for monitoring the activities of the private health institution with regard to Cesarean section also known as C-section. It sought appropriate direction to the Central government to make it mandatory for all doctors and hospitals to declare the percentage of Caesarean delivery rates to patients and post-cesarean health hazards.  

The petition said the apex Court  may also frame guidelines for conducting Caesarean to safeguard the health and rights of women and children because Article 21 of the Constitution recognizes every individual’s right to life and liberty, which the Supreme Court has held includes the right to health.

It said Article 47 of the Constitution provides that the State shall regard raising the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties. It also pointed out that there was no national plan or state plan in India for dealing with unnecessary cesarean deliveries.

It said it is the duty of the Central and State governments to provide affordable quality health care to people. It said the C-section surgeries have a serious impact not only on the health of the mother but also on her ability to continue work after delivery.

The petition stated that the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that Caesarean section could be performed only when it is medical necessity and WHO norms prescribe that C-section deliveries should be ideally 10-15 per cent of the total number of deliveries whereas as per data maintained by government authority and news reports in India in private hospitals that rate is more than 50 per cent.

It pointed out that C-sections lead to a higher risk of post-partum depression and lower breastfeeding rate in women and diseases like obesity and diabetes in children.

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