HIV infection from Army Hospital: SC orders Rs 1.54-crore compensation for IAF officer

The officer suffered injuries during duty in July 2002 and was admitted to the Army Hospital in Jammu & Kashmir. Representative image/File Photo

New Delhi: In a major judgment, the Supreme Court of India has ruled that the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army were responsible for the AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) disease suffered by an IAF officer during duty.

The court also ordered a compensation of Rs 1.54 crore to the officer. The IAF officer was injured during an operation on the border and was treated at an Army hospital, where he received blood which was contaminated with the AIDS-causing HIV (Human Immunodeficiency) virus.

The officer was deployed on the country’s border as part of Operation Parakram, which was launched following the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. He suffered injuries during duty in July 2002 and was admitted to the Army Hospital in Jammu & Kashmir. While under treatment at the hospital, the officer received one unit of blood. Later, in 2014, he became ill and was diagnosed with AIDS. The IAF officer subsequently filed a case.

A medical board was soon constituted and it found that the blood transfusion at the Army Hospital in 2002 had caused the infection.

In its order, the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Dutta said that both the IAF and the Army were equally responsible for the HIV infection caused to the IAF officer. The court ordered the IAF to pay the compensation of Rs 1.54 crore to the officer within six weeks.

The IAF could decide whether it should collect half the amount from the Army, as the incident took place in a hospital belonging to the latter, added the court. The order also said that the aggrieved IAF officer should also be granted all other benefits and arrears from the armed forces within six weeks.

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