India: Laboratory technician charged for act likely to spread infection of a dangerous disease


Mild sections invoked in FIR, book 2 more officials, says family of Bathinda girl infused HIV+ blood

October 12, 2020
Source: Hindustan Times

The family of a seven-year-old thalassemia patient, who was infused HIV+ blood early this month, has taken exception to the police’s move of invoking ‘mild’ sections of the Indian Penal Code against an accused medical laboratory technologist.

On Saturday night, the police registered a case against laboratory technologist B.R. under Sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code.

The FIR was lodged on the complaint of the Bathinda civil surgeon.

In various instances across the country, these two sections were invoked against persons defying quarantine orders for containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

If held guilty under Section 269 of the IPC, a person can get a maximum punishment of six months whereas a court can sentence a punishment of up to two years for conviction under 270 of the IPC. Also, a guilty may also face penalties in both cases.

The girl’s father said as per the internal report, R. had a strained relationship with colleagues at the blood bank and he allegedly let blood transfused to the seven-year-old to settle scores with coworkers on October 3. Citing two inquiry reports, he said infusing HIV+ blood to the child was done in a planned manner and thus it amounts to attempt to murder.

“The fact-finding panel stated that R. had called the HIV-infected person from his personal mobile phone on October 1, and two days later, the person donated blood that was issued my daughter. It was a deliberated and a planned attempt by R. with an ulterior motive. Also, we demand case against two other blood bank officials, then in-charge of the blood bank at the Bathinda civil hospital and blood transfusion officer Dr K.G and laboratory technician R.G,” he said.

Chandigarh-based activist and high court lawyer HC Arora said, “The case is fit for trial under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC. If blood bank officials are found guilty of deliberately concealing HIV+ infection status from a donor and his blood was infused to two patients, the matter needs urgent attention. Also, by keeping a person in dark about his HIV+ status for five months, the department concerned deprived him of treatment for a prolonged period and put so lives at risk,” said Arora.

Naujawan Welfare Society (NWS), a Bathinda NGO, extended support to fight a legal battle for the thalassemia patient and the 47-year-old blood donor.

Bathinda senior superintendent of police (SSP) Bhupinderjit Singh Virk said legal opinion is being sought from experts in the case. “Case was registered against R. on the basis of a complaint received from the civil surgeon. On the basis of investigation, we can invoke relevant sections of the IPC and include other persons involved in the crime,” said the SSP.

Civil surgeon Amrik Singh Sandhu said his office is yet to get any communication on the status of Dr K. outsourced under the National Health Mission and a woman lab technologist working with the Punjab Health Systems Corporation.

Health secretary Hussan Lal said both officials have been dismissed and the departments concerned are handling the cases.