Forceful compulsory retirement of PLHIV during COVID 19

Subhash Verma Vs Commandent Battalion of Ujjain, W.P. No. 11487/2020 | High Court of Indore | Status: Pending | Covid-19 Response, Greater involvement of people living with HIV (GIPA) |

A PLHIV since 2012, who was appointed as a constable in 1984 is the petitioner. In 2011 he was appointed as a senior constable at the 32nd Battalion Nagjhri Ujjain, he completed a course in Pradhan Aarachak and passed his exam. In a notice dated 23/12/2019 the petitioner was charged with embezzlement and unlawful recovery due to which he was forced and to take compulsory retirement, the order sent explicitly states that he had been suffering from AIDS.

Relevant portion of the order dated 24/06/2020 is as follows:

"In the above said order  the identity of the petitioner was hidden but after this order petitioner identity that he is suffering from AIDS has been open to all. Petitioner has been wrongly framed with embezzlement by the respondents were as the Goods/stock as well as the amount which is claimed by the respondent to be embezzled is with the respondents Super Market the intention of the petitioner charges were not serious issue nor he has committed the heinous crime of which he has been compulsory retirement. Respondent has with malafide intention given him compulsory retirement. "

After this order the petitioner appealed before the appellate authority which was rejected on 20/7/2020. The petitioner fave an elaborate reply to all the charges that were framed against him and refuted all the claims ad charges framed against the petitioner by the respondent. The petitioner further stated in his reply that whatever goods had been purchased for the Super Market, were done only after the conformation of the committee and by the Commandant. It was only with the permission granted in writing to the administrator/ in charge of the Super Market that the purchases were made. The petitioner had not purchased anything without prior permission or out of his own free will. All the purchases had been done after permission was explicitly granted by the committee and the Commandant had provided it in writing, the petitioner has also requested the authorities to go through the documents, containing records in which permission was given by the committee as well as the commandant with regard to the permission granted to purchase the goods for the Super Market.

The petitioner has opposed the charge of embezzlement that have been raised against them, by saying that if he had indeed embezzled the amount from the Super Market, it would have reflected in the bank balance as well. But it neither reflected in the bank balance nor was any property purchased against the said amount. The petition also as two young children, both unmarried. Furthermore the wife of the petitioner is also a PLHIV. The petitioner and his wife are from the lower middle class and have not used a large sum of money, therefore showing that he had not embezzled the said amount of money from the Super Market, neither has he spent it on himself or his family members. Furthermore the petitioner and his wife even get their treatment on credit that has been taken from the respondent. It is pertinent to mention that the amount of which the charges of embezzlement are made out against the petitioner is kept safe with the respondents.

In regarding to the charges framed against the petitioner that he is not mentioning the cash book properly refuting to the charges the petitioner has said that due to his deteriorated condition from AIDS treatment he was not able to maintain the created books on time knowing to this cause the audit team had asked for Commission from the petitioner,