New Delhi: Expressing disappointment over
the "apathy" shown towards HIV-infected people, activists
on Wednesday demanded the government pass the HIV/AIDS Bill in the
Winter Session of Parliament.
Activists from a group of NGOs and Lawyers` Collective,
legal advocacy group that drafted the Bill, said the Bill is
very important in the light of the large-scale discrimination
faced by the HIV positive people in the country.
"It`s unacceptable that the government has not brought
the Bill to the parliament till now," Pradeep Dutta of the Nai
Umang Network of Positive People said.
The Bill was finalised in July 2006 by Health Ministry
and was sent to Law Ministry in August, 2007. It has been
pending since March 2010, when the Law Ministry cleared it.
"We met Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad yesterday and he
said the Bill has been sent again to the Law ministry. We want
to ask why such an important Bill, on whom so many lives
depend, is being shuttled between the two Ministries." Dutta
Anand Grover of the Lawyers` Collective said, "the
stakeholders were consulted throughout the drafting of the
bill, but suddenly the health ministry is being discreet and
confidential over the Bill.
"We urge the government to take the community back in
confidence and pass the Bill in its original form without
tinkering with its important clauses such as easier access to
treatment," he said.
Grover claimed that the Ministry was not in favour of
including the provision for free health treatment to HIV
patients in the Bill.