Orissa HC stricture to SBI on AIDS case

Written by fe Bureaus | Bhubaneswar | Updated: Aug 26 2009, 09:12am hrs
The Orissa high court, in a landmark judgement, has observed that state and public sector employers cannot discrimnate against people living with HIV/AIDS in matters of employment.

The court, while disposing off a case against State Bank of India, said: "The state and public sector employers cannot take the stand that they will not hire someone in a permanent post uless they are satisfied that the person will serve the entire term of service."

"The law is very clear on the issue and such acts would amount to violation of Article 14 of the Constitution that ensures right to life and equality," the court observed.

The petitioner, son of a SBI employee who died of AIDS on March 1,1996, alleged that he was denied a job on compassionate grounds by the bank. "Since my father had ded of AIDS, the bank authorities were determined not to give me empoloyment," he said. He citied the case of his mother whose claim for a job on compassionate grounds was not favourably disposed off. " She was asked to obtain a HIV test report from a hospital," the petitioner said, adding " She was not issed the appointment letter even though she produced a HIV negative certificate."

In 2001, she died due to cereberal malaria, following which the petitioner applied for a job with SBI.

The bank denied the allegations and said there was no provision for giving compassionate employment to the kin of an employee after five years of his death.

The court, however, directed the SBI to provide employemnt to the petitioner in a post suitable to his qualification.