Times of India
21 May 2011
The Madras high court has ordered notice to a government school in Kancheepuram district on a public interest litigation alleging that 29 HIV–affected students – studying from class III to VIII – had been asked to leave the school. The court also ordered notice to health and educational departments on the PIL filed by K Radhakrishnan of Chengalpet.
In his petition, Radhakrishnan said he got information during September last year from an orphanage in Cheyyur taluk that 29 children of their home, who were studying in the Panchayat union middle school in Perunkaranai, were expelled since they were affected by HIV.
Stating that he himself was an HIV–affected person, the petitioner said his inquiries revealed that the school had sent out the children due to the fear that other students could also get affected by HIV. He had approached the school authorities and explained to them that HIV–infected children cause no risk to others as HIV does not spread through sharing things, spitting or urine, the petitioner said.
The school headmaster got convinced and assured that the children could attend the class after mid–term holidays. But, the children were not allowed after the holidays and hence the petitioner approached the school authorities again. They told him that they couldn’t take back the students as the local panchayat and parents of the students did not want the 29 children to continue their education in the school.
Radhakrishnan further said he had also approached the district education officer and the Tamil Nadu AIDS control society and urged them to take steps to enable the children continue their schooling.
Stating that the children had the right to have free and compulsory education and refusal of education to them was a violation of fundamental right, Radhakrishnan said there was an immediate need to protect the aggrieved students from being discriminated and isolated and to enable them continue their education.
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