New Delhi, Oct 22 - After much persuasion and a mass protest, Law and Justice Minister Veerappa Moily said he will discuss the latest draft of the HIV/AIDS bill with the health ministry which, according to patients and civil society, have "key provisions" missing.
Raman Chawla of the Lawyers' Collective, who led a six-member team from the Network of HIV Positive People to meet Moily late Wednesday, said the minister assured them of sorting out the differences as soon as possible.
"The law ministry proposed the third draft of the HIV/AIDS bill after deleting 38 key provisions that the Positive People Networks had demanded. Therefore when we met the minister we told him that these provisions must be reinstated in the bill and then passed by the parliament," Chawla told IANS.
Talking about the draft bill, Daisy David of the Chennai Network of Positive People who was also a part of the delegation that met the minister said that it's the first draft of the bill that they want passed by the parliament.
"In 2006, the HIV/AIDS bill was prepared by the health ministry after intensive discussions with different stakeholders, including people living with HIV, sex workers and injecting drug users. That is the version of the bill that we want to be reinstated and passed by parliament," David said.
This 2006 version of the bill was sent to ministry of law and justice for vetting.
"However, a much diluted version of the bill was sent back by the law ministry in 2007. Protests followed later and then the law ministry again sent a draft of the bill - almost like the last one," David added.
Pradip Dutta, a member of the Delhi Network of Positive People, said that one of the major provisions that has been deleted in the third draft of the bill was emergency health services for an HIV patient.
"A lot of times HIV patients are denied treatment in hospitals despite being an emergency. Therefore, we want a health official be appointed, as mentioned by the health ministry, who will give orders within 24 hours if such a situation arises," Dutta told IANS.
"Also a lot of times we see that children whose HIV positive parents have died are denied their right over the family property. Therefore, there should be a provision by which the property rights of a child of HIV parents are protected," he added.
Chawla said: "We waited for the minister for more than three hours but didn't give up. We met him for about 10-15 minutes and although the conversation was a heated one, we came away with his assurance that the law ministry will talk to the health ministry about the provisions." (IANS)
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