India: Woman takes her husband to court to seek compensation for alleged HIV non-disclosure


Woman accuses HIV + husband of hiding disease, wants compensation

May 12, 2017
Source: Hindustan Times

Ranchi: A woman in Jharkhand’s steel city, Jamshedpur has filed a case in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) accusing her husband of hiding his sexually transmitted disease (STD) and fraudulently marrying her.

The woman—her name has been withheld—resident of Jamshedpur’s Kitadih locality under Bagbera police station apprised the court that her husband is living with HIV and was tested positive before their wedding was conceptualized. “He and his family has cheated me and are hence liable for the gravest of punishment,” she prayed before the court.

Incidentally, the couple has a baby girl. But both the mother and daughter have been tested negative for HIV. Having returned to her parents with the child, the woman has now sought a job on compensatory grounds with Tata Steel, where her husband is employed as a security guard.

“My client has been cheated for life and hence she has rightful claim for appropriate compensation,” the victim’s lawyer, Sudhir Kumar Pappu told HT.

He said his client has also petitioned Tata Steel, which follow’s global ethical standards, to give voluntary retirement to her husband on medical ground and arrange to accommodate her in the company so that she can spend the rest of her life with dignity along with the baby girl.

The couple, both residents of Jamshedpur, got married on December 15, 2014. According to the lawyer, the groom, Vijay Dubey (name changed as he is an HIV patient), got nearly Rs. 4 lakh in dowry. However, months after the wedding, the woman found her husband behaving indifferently, and hiding certain documents from her.

In her petition, she said that Vijay, resident of Sidhgora, used to visit Tata Main Hospital (TMH) for medical check-up regularly but never shared the information with her.

One winter morning in 2015, Vijay was taken seriously ill and was admitted to the hospital where the doctors advised him a surgery. The doctors sought the wife’s permission to proceed with the surgery.

Despite her in-laws best efforts, she went to the hospital where for the first time she learnt that her husband was living with AIDS. She alsochanced upon his medical records that revealed the status of his disease, which was diagnosed much before their wedding.

Taking cognizance of her petition, the court directed the Bagbera police station to lodge an FIR against the accused and the police that were sitting on the court directive for the last three months.

The victim’s lawyer said the Bagbera police were pressurizing his client to compromise with her husband and in-laws and go for an out-of-court settlement. “The police are disobeying the court’s order which is contempt of court,” advocate Pappu said.

Bagbera police station in-charge, A Hussein said both families had voluntarily come to him for a settlement. “We are looking into the case,” he said.

Can a HIV positive man still have healthy children? “Yes certainly,” said Dr Ajay Kumar Singh, a skin specialist and senior IMA functionary from Ranchi.

“The risk of the baby having HIV is only directly related to the HIV status of the mother, not the father. He said, in order to avoid confusion, the child may be taken for HIV tests on more than occasion.”

Dr Singh said if the man is on effective treatment and their viral load is undetectable, the risk of transmission is close to zero.