Kerala HC Calls Upon Central Government to Establish Guidelines for Employing Individuals with Hepatitis B

Kerala HC Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: 15 September 2023 at 16:35 IST

The Kerala High Court has recommended to the Central Government to create a set of guidelines for the employment of individuals afflicted with Hepatitis B.

This suggestion came to light during the High Court’s review of a petition filed by an individual who alleged that he was unjustly denied a job opportunity at a public sector undertaking (PSU) solely due to his Hepatitis B condition.

The petitioner had submitted an application for the position of Assistant (General) at Kerala’s largest PSU, Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd (FACT). petitioner contended that he possessed all the requisite qualifications and credentials for the job but was denied the opportunity solely on the grounds of his Hepatitis B diagnosis.

Justice Devan Ramachandran expressed his view that refusing the petitioner a job opportunity based on this reason contradicts contemporary standards and goes against the “collective conscience of the civilized world.”

Court questioned the discrimination faced by individuals with Hepatitis B when the Central Government had already established protocols for individuals with HIV infections.

The Court emphasized the potential consequences of permitting Public Sector Undertakings to treat candidates in such a manner. Such actions could set a precedent where individuals are denied opportunities solely due to their disease attributes, without any assessment of the impact on the individual in question.

Notably, the Court noted that the medical report declaring the petitioner unfit for the job failed to provide reasons why Hepatitis B would render a person unsuitable for the position. Consequently, Justice Ramachandran granted the petition and directed FACT to subject the petitioner to a further medical examination and seek the opinion of an independent medical board affiliated with a government hospital within a two-month timeframe.

Taking into consideration arguments presented by the Deputy Solicitor General of India, the High Court recommended that the Central Government formulate a comprehensive protocol for the employment of individuals affected by Hepatitis B.

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