Army pulled up for firing HIV+ jawan | india | Hindustan Times
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Army pulled up for firing HIV+ jawan

The havaldar had been fired seven years ago, on the basis of an “erroneous conclusion” that he was an AIDS patient, reports Bhadra Sinha.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2007 01:54 IST
Bhadra Sinha

The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Defence Ministry and the army headquarters on a petition filed by a havaldar, who was fired on the basis of an “erroneous conclusion” that he was an AIDS patient.

The petitioner’s services were terminated seven years ago after a medical test report declared him to be HIV-positive and also suffering from tuberculosis.

On the basis of the report, the army concluded the havaldar was suffering from AIDS and, therefore, incapable of continuing with his services.

The former havaldar, has in his petition before the Supreme Court, claimed that he never suffered from tuberculosis. He has admitted to being HIV-positive, but argued that it does not amount to being an AIDS patient.

A bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat has directed army authorities to respond why the havaldar shouldn’t be compensated for being deprived of a livelihood for so many years, though he is healthy enough to work.

The petitioner’s counsel Colin Gonsalves said: “An HIV-positive person cannot be called an AIDS patient, because in the latter case, the person is unable to work on account of being terminally ill. Being HIV-positive does not necessarily mean the person is an AIDS patient.”

“The petitioner has been perfectly fine for the past seven years and has not been administered the anti-retro viral drug even once. His blood count is around 500, far more than the blood count of an AIDS patient.”

According to the petitioner, the army medical hospital in Jabalpur issued a report in 2000, declaring the havaldar to be HIV-positive and suffering from tuberculosis.

Doctors then prescribed him medication to which he had an adverse reaction, suffering from temporary blindness. While he was being treated, the army terminated his services.

The petitioner challenged his dismissal before the Madhya Pradesh high court and won the case in 2006. A bench of two judges then reversed the judgement and passed an order in favour of the army authorities.