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HC orders state govt to reinstate HIV positive bus driver

A Bench comprising Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Abhay Oka ordered that the MSRTC’s decision to fire the driver be cancelled.

Written by Express News Service | Pune | Published: September 6, 2013 2:27:25 am

The Bombay High Court has ordered the state government to reinstate the driver who was sacked by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) after he had voluntarily told the authorities that he is HIV positive.

A Bench comprising Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Abhay Oka ordered that the MSRTC’s decision to fire the driver be cancelled. The HC directed the state government to reinstate him within a week. It is also expected that the High Court will award compensation to the driver,who hails from a village in Pune district and had been working with the MSRTC since 1999. MSRTC had dismissed him from the service in 2012 stating that he was unfit to work.

In 2008,during a routine health check-up it was found that he was HIV positive. He started the treatment and but was finding it difficult to go on long routes.

He asked the MSRCTC authorities for less strenuous work schedule. On MSRTC’s advice,he did four tests between 2009 and 2012 at a government hospital. It was found that he was fit to work but should not be given strenuous jobs. In the third report given in February 2012,the hospital stated that he should be given light duty work as he is suffering from peripheral neuropathy. It had resulted in difficulty in sensing pain,temperature,touch particularly in legs. He asked for the duty of peon,but MSRTC did not act.

MSRTC once again sought opinion from the hospital whether he can drive heavy vehicles,to which the hospital replied in negative. The MSRTC officially terminated his services in May 2012 stating he was unfit for work. The driver’s wife had to work as a labourer and even children were forced to work due to this.

After a TV channel showed a news about the driver,city-based lawyer Asim Sarode of NGO Sahyog Trust got in touch with the driver.

Sarode said,“We filed a writ petition last year and the HC passed an order to reinstate him in a week. Now arguments will be held over quantum of compensation to be paid by MSRTC for violating his rights.There is no law for HIV persons. The MSRTC discriminated against the driver and violated his human rights.”

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