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Bombay HC Refuses Mandatory HIV Tests

The Bombay High Court has refused to grant directions for mandatory HIV/ AIDS testing before taking up a job or before marriage.//

However they have asked the Maharashtra government to consider framing a policy for the same.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by an NGO, Maharashtra Law Graduate Association.

Government pleader Pradeep Patil stated to the court that the National AIDS Prevention and Control Policy of the National AIDS Control Organization mentions that no individual should be made to undergo mandatory testing for HIV.

The Joint Director of Health Services had filed an affidavit which stated that the policy stressed on the adequate availability of voluntary testing facilities with pre-test and post-test counseling. The policy also recommended that one HIV testing center has to be established in each district.

The affidavit also stated that in the case of marriages, undergoing the test is the individual's choice and should not be made mandatory. The government, on their part should ensure the social and economic well-being of the HIV infected individuals by protecting their rights, like right to privacy.

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Harjit Singh Bedi and Justice VM Kanade observed that the PIL does highlight a vital issue and that the Central and the State government are seriously concerned about the matter. However they also stated that the HC is not the appropriate forum to formulate policies in this matter.

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