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SC awards Rs 1.54 crore compensation to ex-Air Force officer who contracted HIV during blood transfusion

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed both the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force to pay Rs 1.54 crore in compensation for their medical negligence to the ex-Air Force officer who contracted HIV/AIDS during a blood transfusion in 2002.

A bench of Justice Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta held that medical negligence by Army and Air Force led to a former officer contracting HIV/AIDS during a blood transfusion and issued some guidelines for government, courts, tribunals, commissions and quasi-judicial bodies etc. under the framework of the HIV Act, 2017.

“The appellant is entitled to compensation calculated at 1,54,73,000 rupees on account of medical negligence of the respondents who are held liable for injuries suffered by him. Since individual liability cannot be assigned, the respondent organisations IAF, and the Indian Army are held vicariously liable jointly and severally. The amount shall be paid by the IAF within six weeks. It is open to the IAF to seek reimbursement to the extent of half the amount from the Army. All arrears related to disability pension shall be disbursed within 6 weeks,” the bench said in its judgement.

The former officer had allegedly been infected during a blood transfusion at an Army hospital in 2002.
The army man, who was part of ‘Operation Parakram’ in Jammu and Kashmir, alleged that he had contracted HIV due to a transfusion of contaminated blood in a field hospital in 2002 and has now become an AIDS patient. He alleged he was being denied medical care at Army hospitals.
India had launched ‘Operation Parakram’ in the wake of the December 13, 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament.

While on duty under the Operation, he said he fell sick and was admitted to Military Hospital in July 2002, where one unit of blood was transfused into his body, during treatment. In 2014 he fell ill and HIV was diagnosed.
A medical board had held that his disability was found as attributable to service due to the transfusion of one unit of blood in 2022. 

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