New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday asked the Centre why it has not yet notified the law to prevent discrimination against HIV and AIDS patients, despite the statute receiving Presidential assent in April last year.
A two-judge bench of chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice C. Hari Shankar issued notice to the ministry of health and the National Aids Control Organisation (Naco) seeking their reply to a PIL, which has sought immediate notification of the law to protect rights of the people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). “You make a law and are not notifying it. Why?” the court asked the ministry and listed the matter for hearing on November 26.
The petitioner, a Delhi university student, has claimed that due to delay in notifying the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017, the rights guaranteed to people living with HIV under the statute are being curtailed.
According to the petition, there are over 2.1 million people living with HIV in India, giving it the dubious distinction of being home to the third largest population afflicted by this disease.
The Act, which received Presidential assent on April 20 last year, prohibits discrimination against people living with HIV in accessing healthcare, getting jobs, renting accommodation, or in ad-mission to public and private educational institutions. Violation of the Act by publishing information about people living with HIV or advocating hatred against them, would attract imprisonment upto two years or a maximum fine of Rs 1 lakh or both.