The Delhi High Court today rapped the Centre and the AAP government in Delhi for not offering any financial help to a man, whose service was terminated by a private city hospital after he tested HIV positive.
A bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli observed that the central and the state governments could not shrug off their responsibilities towards a man, who lost his job after testing HIV positive.
"The money you will be paying (towards the treatment) is not coming out of your (both the governments') pockets. Therefore, you will have to take his responsibility," it said and asked the counsel for the authorities, "Is he not entitled to a compensation?"
The court was hearing an appeal of a 26-year-old father of two kids, who has challenged the termination of his service as laboratory assistant by the hospital after he tested HIV positive, following accidental needle pricks at work.
The man, who did not want to disclose his identity, filed the appeal under the name "Pxxx" and said he was thrown out of his job over a year ago.
Taking note of his plea, the bench observed that though the appellant had not sought any compensation, some monetary help could still be offered to him as he had narrated everything in his appeal and disclosed his ordeal.
It asked the Centre, the Delhi government, his previous employer and the other authorities concerned to file an affidavit, indicating whether the man was suffering from the disease before he joined the hospital or subsequently.
The court fixed November 27 for the next hearing.
The Centre, however, questioned the maintainability of the appeal.
In his appeal, the man, through his counsel Ashok Aggarwal, has challenged the November 2016 order of a single judge, who had held that since he was employed through a contractor, he could not claim that the termination of his service was a violation of his fundamental rights.
The man, in his plea, had said he suffered three-four needles pricks while working at a laboratory and had informed the hospital management about contracting the disease at work.
However, he was never administered Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), which is a requirement in such cases, as per the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) guidelines, his counsel submitted in the court.
The lawyer alleged that the hospital did not provide PEP or free medical assistance to its contractual employees.
"The appellant had told his superiors about the needle pricks, but they told him not to worry," the plea added.
Last year, the appellant underwent an HIV test and was shocked to find the result positive.
"I could not believe the reports. I got a sample tested from a private laboratory as also from the AIIMS. I was HIV positive," he said.
The counsel contended that soon after getting the reports, the appellant learnt that he had lost his job. His contractor also did not help. After battling depression for a while, he decided to take the matter to the court.
"My family believes I am suffering from blood cancer. I cannot tell them the truth. I felt like committing suicide at one point. I keep thinking what was my fault," the appellant said in his plea.
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