SC notice on discrimination against HIV children

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the central and all state governments on a petition seeking framing of guidelines to ensure that there is no discrimination against HIV positive children during school admissions.

The notice has also been issued to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

A bench of Justice BS Chauhan and Justice J Chelameswar issued notice after NGO Naz Foundation (India) Trust urged it to issue directions that HIV positive school children should not be discriminated against for admission to schools or turned out after their HIV positive status is revealed.

The PIL has sought directions that no child affected by HIV would be denied admission, suspended, segregated or expelled on the basis of their HIV status or the status of their parents or guardians.

It has further sought directions to the government to frame guidelines under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 to ensure non-discrimination in schools in this regard.

The Naz Foundation has also sought direction that children affected by HIV be notified as a "disadvantaged" group under the act, as it would put the central and state governments as well private schools under further obligation to ensure their such children's right to education without discrimination.

Seeking directions to the government to take steps for the elimination of discrimination against HIV positive children, the PIL has invoked the fundamental rights to life, education and equality guaranteed under the Indian constitution.

The PIL referred to March 2011 statement of Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in parliament that in 2008-2010, 61 HIV positive children were removed from school.