The Delhi High Court has set aside the transfer order of a BSF constable, suffering from AIDS, so that he and his wife and child, who too are HIV positive, can undergo treatment in Delhi.
Sunil Kumar, a Constable in the Border Security Force (BSF), had come with his family to the national capital from Tripura to avail treatment for the disease but was being transferred to West Bengal by the force.
A bench of Justices Kailash Gambhir and Najmi Waziri stayed the government’s July 28, 2013 order, saying his treatment was at a crucial stage and his transfer, apart from creating serious logistical problems, could also “jeopardise their treatment and even threaten their lives”.
The bench observed there was a stigma attached with such ailments and it was “incumbent” upon the government to not only “prevent instances of ostracisation of such patients, especially of children afflicted by the disease”, but also to fund research for the better cure and provision of medical care to the largest number of citizens suffering from AIDS.
“The need is immediate,” the bench said while issuing a notice to the Centre on Kumar’s plea challenging his transfer orders.
Observing that the present case “is most compelling and unfortunate” as the constable, his wife and a minor child are afflicted with HIV positive, the court set aside Kumar’s transfer orders and directed that his and his family’s treatment shall continue in Delhi.
“On the eve of India’s Independence Day, when the entire nation is in the mood of celebration of freedom, we are confronted with a case which spells gloom but hopefully not doom of a government servant who has served the nation in defending its borders as a constable in the Border Security Force,” the court said in its order and listed the matter for further hearing on September 15.
The court also observed that “human life is paramount” and “such cases deserve to be considered with due care, compassion and an appreciation of all the facts relating to it”.
It further said that the state “is expected to not only safeguard human life but also to provide best medical care to its countless citizens suffering from such afflictions, albeit within its financial means”.
“The case of the petitioner is a prime example in which his family’s treatment should not be disturbed,” it said.
In his petition, Kumar has challenged his transfer order saying it was passed in an arbitrary manner without taking into consideration the relevant facts. He has also contended that the transfer would adversely affect his and his family’s treatment.
He has said that he and his wife are undergoing their treatment at RML Hospital, while their child is being treated at Kalawati Saran Hospital.
The Home Ministry had sent a panel of three senior IAS officers to pick from and Negi's name is not in the list.
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