27 Sep 2023 10:02 AM GMT
In a pathbreaking judgment delivered on September 26, the Supreme Court issued a series of vital directions to the Central and State Governments to ensure the effective implementation of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 (HIV Act).The Court further directed all Courts, Tribunals and quasi-judicial bodies in the country...
In a pathbreaking judgment delivered on September 26, the Supreme Court issued a series of vital directions to the Central and State Governments to ensure the effective implementation of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 (HIV Act).
The Court further directed all Courts, Tribunals and quasi-judicial bodies in the country to prioritize the cases relating to HIV-infected persons for early disposal as per the mandate of Section 34(2) of the HIV Act. The Court also directed that steps should be taken to keep the identity of HIV-infected persons anonymous.
The Court passed these directions while awarding Rs 1.5 crore compensation to an ex-Indian Air Force official who contracted HIV during a blood transfusion at a military hospital. The Court held both the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force jointly and severally liable for medical negligence.
The bench comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Dipankar Datta was hearing an appeal against a judgment of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission(NCDRC) which denied the compensation claimed by the Air Veteran.
The HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 mandates several critical provisions to safeguard the rights and welfare of those affected by HIV or AIDS. The Supreme Court outlined the following directives:
"The Union Labour and Employment Secretary shall file an affidavit of compliance containing a tabular statement, with respect to the implementation of provisions of the Act, within 16 weeks from today", the Court ordered.
The Court also specifically instructed all courts and quasi-judicial bodies established under both central and state enactments to take proactive steps in line with Section 34 of the HIV Act.
Section 34 of the Act states as follows-
34. (1) In any legal proceeding in which a protected person is a party or such person is an applicant, the court, on an application by such person or any other person on his behalf may pass, in the interest of justice, any or all of the following orders, namely:—
(a) that the proceeding or any part thereof be conducted by suppressing the identity of the applicant by substituting the name of such person with a pseudonym in the records of the proceedings in such manner as may be prescribed
(b) that the proceeding or any part thereof may be conducted in camera
(c) restraining any person from publishing in any manner any matter leading to the disclosure of the name status or identity of the applicant
(2) In any legal proceeding concerning or relating to an HIV-positive person, the court shall take up and dispose of the proceeding on priority basis.
Pressing for a more inclusive and supportive legal environment, the Court also directed-.
Case Number : C.A. No. 7175/2021
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 826
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment