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Uterus Scam: Reluctant Bihar govt sanctions `12.88 crore for victims

Uterus Scam: Reluctant Bihar govt sanctions `12.88 crore for victims

New Delhi: In a major setback to Bihar government, which is led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the Patna High Court order forced the state government to cough-up Rs 12.88 crore compensation to the victims of infamous 'uterus scam' that was unearthed in 2012.

As per the official sources, the Bihar government, which was reluctant to accept any irregularities in the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), finally sanctioned Rs 12.88 crore in March 2019 following the Patna HC order dated September 25, 2018.

The incident relates to the forceful removal of the uterus of women and underage girls by 'doctors' without taking victims' consent. Interestingly, some fake the doctors were also in the team that carried out the mass operation.

Notably, a total of 702 women, including some unmarried girls, were operated upon to remove their uteruses under the medical insurance scheme for poor families in eight different districts during the year 2012. As per the verdict, the Patna HC had ordered the government in September 2018 to pay compensation within six weeks to all the victims of a uterus scam.

An HC division bench comprising Chief Justice MR Shah and Justice Ashutosh Kumar, while hearing a PIL filed by Veterans Forum for Transparency in Public Life, ordered that all investigations in the scam, if pending, must be completed within six weeks followed by filing of chargesheets against accused doctors and others. The forum was represented by counsel Dinu Kumar.

The maximum cases of unauthorized and illegal operations of uterus were registered in Gopalganj (318) followed by Samastipur, where 316 women and girls fell victim of illegal surgery.

The orders issued by the state home department to the District Magistrates of the concerned districts stipulated that compensation of Rs 2.50 lakh each be paid to the women between 20 and 40, and those above 40 would be paid Rs 1.50 lakh each.

In August 2012, Bihar Human Rights Commission (BHRC) took suo-motu cognizance of reports about irregularities in cases of uterus removal under the scheme. He also sought a report from the state government and an expert committee was formed, following CM's directive. The scam was exposed when the then Samastipur DM Kundan Kumar had organised special medical camps to re-examine the women, after the administration received complaints about unnecessary surgeries.

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