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Petition against discrimination and refusal of treatment in government hospital: XY vs. All India Institute of Medical Sciences

Date : 16/07/2010

Widespread discrimination against HIV positive people has been found in health care facilities across India. This may involve a refusal to provide treatment, the cessation of ongoing treatment, a refusal to operate, early discharge from hospital etc.

Denial of treatment is one of the most common forms of discrimination, which people living with HIV/AIDS face. In the present petition, the Petitioner’s brother was denied treatment and forcibly discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on the grounds that he was HIV positive. The Petitioner’s brother is very weak and requires immediate ‘maintenance dialysis’. This was denied by AIIMS as they claimed that ‘the patient’s condition had stabilised’. Presently the Petitioner’s brother is in a private hospital.

The Supreme Court in a plethora of rulings has interpreted Article 21 of the Constitution of India (Protection of life and personal liberty) to include the right to access proper treatment to cure diseases. Furthermore the conduct of the Respondents clearly violates the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (Professional Conduct and Ethics) Regulations, 2002.

The High Court had ordered AIIMS to provide appropriate reference to all the Government and Private Hospitals having maintenance dialysis. AIIMS has to date only given a list of hospitals having regular dialysis and not maintenance dialysis.

HRLN lawyers filed a rejoinder to the preliminary objections raised by AIIMS on 31st March 2008. The matter has now been listed for hearing on 24th July 2008.

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