Jammu, September 27
Twenty one years after a veteran got infected with HIV due to transfusion of infected blood at a military hospital in J&K, the Supreme Court has directed the Indian Air Force (IAF) to pay him Rs 1.54 crore as compensation.
“It is held that the appellant is entitled to compensation, calculated at Rs 1,54,73,000, on account of medical negligence of the respondents, who are held liable for the injury suffered by the appellant,” a Bench led by Justice S Ravindra Bhat said on Tuesday.
“The amount shall be paid to the appellant within six weeks by the IAF, his employer; it is open to the IAF to seek reimbursement, to the extent of half the sum, from the Army. All arrears related to disability pension too shall be disbursed to the appellant within the said six-week period,” it said.
Reversing a judgment of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, which denied compensation to the appellant, the top court held the IAF and the Army vicariously liable — jointly and severally — for the negligence on their part.
The veteran, a radar operative/ technician with the IAF, fell sick whilst on duty during Operation Parakram that was launched in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001. He complained of weakness and anorexia. Besides, he was passing highly coloured urine. He was admitted to the military hospital at Samba where he was administered a unit of blood in July 2002.
The Bench also directed the Centre and states to ensure effective implementation of the HIV (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017.
“The Union Labour and Employment Secretary shall file an affidavit of compliance containing a tabular statement, with respect to the implementation of provisions of the Act, within 16 weeks from today,” it ordered.
The Bench asked all courts, tribunals and quasi-judicial bodies in the country to prioritise the cases relating to HIV-infected persons for early disposal.
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