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Supreme Court Upholds Compensation Order for Veteran in HIV Blood Transfusion Case

Supreme Court Dismisses Review Petition, Maintains ₹1.6 Crore Payout, Holding Indian Air Force Liable for Medical Negligence

The recent decision by the Supreme Court to uphold its earlier ruling, directing the Indian Air Force (IAF) to compensate a veteran with around ₹1.6 crores for contracting HIV during a blood transfusion at a military hospital, remains unchanged despite a review petition filed by the IAF and the Army. Justices Dipankar Datta and Prasanna B Varale dismissed the petition, affirming that the original judgment was free from errors and warranted no reconsideration.

In September 2023, the apex court had ordered the IAF to pay compensation for medical negligence, while also holding both the IAF and the Army vicariously liable for the incident. Despite the challenge to this ruling, the Court maintained its stance.

Earlier this year, the Court had asked the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force to respond to a contempt of court case filed by the affected officer, Ashish Chauhan, for failing to release the compensation amount.

The case originated from an incident following the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, during heightened tensions at the India-Pakistan border. In 2002, during operation Parakram, the veteran fell ill and received a blood transfusion at a military hospital in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba, leading to his eventual diagnosis of HIV in 2014. Subsequent investigations linked his condition to the blood transfusion.

Despite his discharge from service in 2016 and denial of disability benefits, the Supreme Court found merit in his plea for compensation. The Court ordered payment of ₹86.73 lakh for loss of earnings, ₹50 lakh for mental anguish, ₹18 lakh for future medical expenses, and ₹5 lakh for legal costs. Additionally, the IAF and the Army were directed to assist in his future medical treatment and cover his travel expenses for regular checkups.

Advocate Vanshaja Shukla provided assistance to the Court as an amicus curiae throughout the proceedings.

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