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Spread of HIV in jails: Punjab and Haryana HC issues notice to Punjab government

Chandigarh, Jan 23

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday put the Punjab government on notice on a public interest litigation seeking court-monitored probe into spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Punjab jails.

The notice was issued by the high court bench of justice Surya Kant for March 12 to the state government and DGP (prisons) on a PIL filed by Karanveer Thamman of Banur.

The petitioner had stated that as per reports, at least 1,630 inmates in nine central jails in Punjab have tested positive for HIV. The Faridkot Modern jail has the highest number of 439 HIV positive inmates, Bathinda has 30, Ferozepur 322, Amritsar 299, Kapurthala 210, Ludhiana 137, Patiala 75, Hoshiarpur 63 and Gurdaspur 55.

The HIV is spread inside jails due to sharing of syringes (used for taking drugs), besides through sexual contact, petitioner’s lawyer HC Arora argued submitting that the jail authorities avoid their responsibility by contending that medical examination of persons is not done before lodging them into jails.

Arora also sought directions for medical examination of jail inmates and maintaining their records. He said this would prevent spread of the virus and conducting of periodical examination of inmates would help fixing responsibility of jail officials.