A writ petition filed in Patna High Court
invitesattention on thenon-implementation of the several schemes notified by the Government (for welfare of HIV/AIDS Victim) and praysfor issuance ofcertain directions.
The enactment, namely Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention And Control) Act, 2017 was notified on 17th September 2018 and seeks to provide equality of opportunities and end discrimination of HIV/AIDS victims. Dealing with the plea, the Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S. Kumar of Patna High Court on Monday (22nd March) directed the ascertainment of several issues.
The case is titled as Council For Protection Of Public Rights And Welfare v. The Union Of India and Ors., wherein the bench observed that:
“The ratio, in which the cases of HIV stand increased in the State of Bihar and that too amongst the people hailing from rural areas, is alarming. Apathy and inaction on the part of the State of Bihar in dealing with the issue stand highlighted.” The Court appointed Amicus Curiae in the matter, Siddhartha Prasad on 21st December, 2020, who invited Court' attention primarily, to the following core issues:-
Court's orders: Before passing any further orders on the matter, the Court requested Dr. K. N. Singh (Addl. Solicitor General) to ascertain the following points:
- The sharp increase in the number of cases of the disease (AIDS) in the State of Bihar;
- Non-utilisation of the funds earmarked by the Central Government/ National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO)/its instrumentalities in the State of Bihar;
- Non-establishment of Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) Centers in 11, out of 38 districts, in the State of Bihar.
- Unfilled vacancies at different levels in the Bihar State AIDS Control Society which is working with the human resource of only up to 50%. Out of 71 sanctioned posts, 35 are lying vacant; and
- Non-finalisation of Expression of Interest (EOI) for empanelment of NGOs/CSOs/CBOs for providing services for Targeted Intervention (TI)/ Link Worker Schemes (LWS) in the State of Bihar.
- The factual position/status with regard to implementation of all the schemes floated by the Central Government, with respect to the State of Bihar.
- The implementation of the provisions of the Act in the State of Bihar.
- As to whether any rule stands framed by the Central Government or the State Government and their implementation also needs to be ascertained.
When it was brought to the Court's notice that the counsel who had filed the writ petition is no longer active in practice, the Court directed Siddhartha Prasad, Amicus Curiae, to immediately get in touch with the said Counsel and/or the writ petitioner informing of the pendency of the present petition.
“We further directthe Project Director,Bihar State AIDS Control Society to remain present in Court for assisting/enabling the Court to passappropriate orders,” the court said at the end. [READ ORDER]