The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Centre and all states on a PIL to declare HIV affected children as a disadvantaged group under the Right of Education Act to ensure they got education without discrimination.
A bench headed by Justice B S Chauhan also sought response from the governments on the plea of an NGO seeking framing of guidelines to prevent any kind of discrimination towards students due to their own HIV status or that of their parents or guardians.
Alleging that children living with or affected by HIV/AIDS are denied admission, suspended and even expelled from schools, the NGO – Naaz Foundation – submitted that such students are also being publicly ridiculed by school authorities, humiliated and treated unfairly.
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“Moreover, the confidentiality of the HIV-positive statusof the children has been routinely breached leading to violation of their right to privacy and the rampant acts of stigmatisation and discrimination that have followed have undermined their human dignity,” the petition said.
It said according to the NACO report the total number of people living with HIV in India is estimated at around 20.9 lakh in 2011 and children less than 15 years of age account for 1.45 lakh.