SMTI JAHNOBI GOSWAMI Vs. UNION OF INDIA AND 8 ORS REP BY SECY TO MINISTRY O
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
Smti Jahnobi Goswami
Union Of India And 8 Ors Rep By Secy To Ministry O
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Ajit Singh, J. -
(1.) This Public Interest Litigation is filed by Smti Jahnobi Goswami stating inter-alia that on 15.4.2015 when a minor boy was hospitalized in Guwahati Medical College and Hospital for treatment due to 80% burn injuries and blood had to be transfused, he was found to be infected with HIV and in November, 2015, a news report was also widely published, which reported that a 9 years old boy infected with Thelassemia disease being hospitalized in Kanaklata Civil Hospital, Tezpur, got infected with HIV after blood transfusion. Similarly, in 2013, four persons including a woman also got infected during such blood transfusion in Mangaldoi Civil Hospital. Pursuant to the incident of Mangaldoi, a Suo-Moto Public Interest Litigation was taken up by this court wherein State Government was directed to implement the guidelines formulated by the AIDS Control Organization and the blood banks functioning without valid license were directed to be closed down with a further direction that a State Transfusion Council be established to ensure that all WHO prescribed mandatory tests are carried out before transfusion.
(2.) After the incident at Mangaldoi as aforementioned, a sum of Rs.250 lakh was sanctioned by the Government of Assam, Health and family Welfare, as a grant-in-aid towards compensation of the victims and for strengthening the blood banks under the annual plan of 2014 out of which a sum of Rs. 25,00,000/- was provided to the victims. Pursuant to the said incident, several meetings took place in the office of the Superintendent of Guwahati Medical College and Hospital as well as in the chamber of the Health Minister, Assam, where the petitioner claims to be present. In those meetings, it was decided that a machine called Nuclear Acid Test (NAT) Machines may be procured, which has a capacity to detect HIV virus within 72 hours, first at Guwahati Medical College and Hospital and then in other hospitals. At present, ELISA test has been adopted in almost all hospitals in Assam, which is outdated and is not 100% accurate and as such, it is the demand of time that NAT machine may be procured. It is stated that in the present detection process, the HIV virus may not be detected during the 3 months 'window period' which is the time taken for initial infection of HIV virus and its detection in the blood. A few States of India have already adopted the said method of testing and procured the machines and as such, the same may also be procured in Assam, too.
(3.) The petitioner has, therefore, prayed for a direction against the State Government to submit detailed reports regarding expenses of Rs.250 lakhs sanctioned to the AIDS victims in Mangaldoi Civil Hospital, Tezpur Civil Hospital and to provide Nuclear Acid Test (NAT) machines for early detection of HIV infection during the window period and also to provide such machines at Guwahati Medical College and Hospital, Dibrugarh Medical College and Hospital and Silchar Medical College and Hospital. Besides, it has also been prayed that State Governments may be directed to frame policy to compensate victims infected with HIV with provisions for punishments to the persons involved in the incidents as well as a direction to submit action taken report and progress reports of the cases registered against brokers of blood (selling and Buying) in Government Hospitals and other individuals.;
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