HIV/AIDS Bill aims to protect the rights of affected people in Pune

Published: Monday, Jul 18, 2011, 15:20 IST  
By  Bhagyashree Kulthe | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

The HIV/AIDS Bill, drafted by Lawyers Collective, a legal and  advocacy group, in 2006, is yet to come up for discussion in the  parliament. The Bill aims at protecting the rights of HIV positive people and prohibits discrimination. It recognises their right to work and equality. Lawyers Collective, along with other social organisations, had recently held a rally in Pune with the demand of speeding up the process to place the Bill in the parliament. Director of Lawyers Collective, Anand Grover, explained the significance of the Bill to DNA.

What is the HIV/AIDS Bill all about?
The draft was a result of three years of research. We held consultations to know the views of stakeholders all over the country before drafting the Bill. It recognises and protects the right to equality, dignity, privacy, health and safe working environment of HIV positive people. It envisages a planned strategy for tackling HIV/AIDS in India through prevention, care, treatment and support
programme. It also suggests formation of accountable and transparent bodies to control AIDS and protect the rights of HIV
positive people.

What is causing the delay in introducing the Bill in the house?
The Bill was drafted in 2006. It was submitted to the health ministry which sent it to the law ministry. After a long time it has come back to Lawyers Collective. The government has suggested some changes in the Bill which we need to discuss with the stakeholders before sending it back to the government. We have already started the process of considering the changes suggested by the government. The ministries concerned also need to speed up the process which is going on since 2006.

What is the significance of this Bill?
The Bill, if passed, will go a long way in protecting the rights of HIV positive people and prevention of AIDS. It has a provision for
designating a person of high rank as complaint officer. The
complaints regarding discrimination against the HIV positive or
violation of the Bill will be registered with the officer and it is to be decided within a stipulated period. It also presses for HIV/AIDS policy.

It has also specified the role of the government in tackling HIV/AIDS. It has a special provision for women and children, who are more vulnerable to HIV and have to face a lot of violence and neglect. For instance, women with HIV are thrown out of the houses while children are denied admissions to schools. The Bill attempts to address the causes of their vulnerability and provides protection of right to inheritance and property, besides institutionalised care.


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