15 Sep 2023 6:45 AM GMT
The Kerala High Court has sought the response of the State government on steps taken to ensure that confidentiality of persons infected with HIV is not prejudiced while availing the benefits of a Government Order granting them Rs. 6,000/- largesse every 6 months.Justice Devan Ramachandran observed that since right to privacy is a constitutional guarantee, the government is obligated to...
The Kerala High Court has sought the response of the State government on steps taken to ensure that confidentiality of persons infected with HIV is not prejudiced while availing the benefits of a Government Order granting them Rs. 6,000/- largesse every 6 months.
Justice Devan Ramachandran observed that since right to privacy is a constitutional guarantee, the government is obligated to ensure that the confidentiality of such persons is maintained at every stage.
"There can be no doubt at all that the requirement of maintenance of confidentiality of the information related to persons like the petitioner is paramount and unassailable...specific safeguards have to be put in place. It is not sufficient that Government has issued Ext.P1 [GO]; but for its implementation, specific modus and protocols have to be made, for the reasons already said above," Court observed.
The development comes in a plea pointing that in order to avail the benefit granted under the G.O., the intended beneficiaries who often belong to the lowest income strata of the society, would have to take the assistance of platforms such as Akshaya Centre for uploading their applications and medical documents, which leads to breach of their confidentiality and privacy.
The plea thus sought a direction to the District Collectors to formulate apposite protocols.
Advocate Sandhya Raju appearing for the petitioner submitted that not many intended beneficiaries availed of the scheme since they will have to upload their documents through Akshaya centres, which may prejudice their confidentiality.
"...the scheme was a beneficial legislation for people living with HIV/Aid. THE objective was to provide a financial support on account of the difficult circumstances people living with HIV. It is submitted that though it was meant to be a beneficial legislation, the manner in which it is being implemented causes great disservice to the people living with HIV/Aids," the plea states.
Moreover, it is averred that no ombudsman in terms of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus And acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome ( Prevention and Control ) Act 2017 has been appointed to deal with issues relating to HIV patients.
Court thus directed the State to file its response in the matter by September 29.
The matter is posted for further consideration on October 3.
Case Title: XXX v. State of Kerala & Ors.
Case Number: W.P.(C).No. 231 of 2023
Click Here To Read/Download The Order