Colombo, Jan 21 – Sri Lankan Judicial history was made on Friday when the Supreme Court allowed leave to proceed for a Fundamental Rights petition filed on behalf of a person who wishes to keep his HIV status undisclosed to the public, seeking an order directing the SriLankan Airlines to re-instate him for employment as cabin crew.
His employment was terminated after the company learned he was HIV-positive, the court was informed.
A Supreme Court two-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice K. Sripavan and Justice Priyantha Jayawardena granted leave to proceed with the Fundamental Right petition filed by Attorney at law Kamani Madhya Jinadasa on behalf of the victim (x), the AsianMirror reported.
The case was fixed for argument May 30.
Sri Lankan Airlines limited, Group Medical Officer of Sri Lankan Airlines Dr. Anoma Jayasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation Nihal Somaweera, Director of National STD/AIDS Control Program Dr. Sisira Liyanage and Attorney General have been named as respondents.
The petitioner had been in employment with Mihin Lanka from 2010. He had not been required to disclose his HIV – status as he was under no obligation to do so. The person wishes to keep his HIV status undisclosed to the public and is entitled to maintain confidentiality of his HIV status as is the policy of the Government of Sri Lanka.
Following the winding up of Mihin Lanka, he applied to SriLankan Airlines and was selected.
During the medical tests he had been given a form in which certain questions were asked. There was a question on if he was a carrier of STDs. However, aware of the national policy on HIV, he had left it unanswered.
Nevertheless on October 7, 2016, he had been admitted as a cabin crew member and was also given uniforms by the HR Department.
On October 19, 2016, he had been required to be present at the Nawaloka Hospital for a medical screening including for HIV.
The petitioner further said the second respondent contacted “x” via telephone and requested him to meet her at the Hilton Hotel, Colombo to discuss the HIV status of his.
The petitioner stated that the second respondent therafter requested “x” to hand over the appointment letter and the staff ID issued by the Sri Lankan Airlines for safe keeping until the matter was resolved.
The petitioner said the decision of the Sri Lankan Airlines to subject “x” for an HIV screening, the subsequent constructive withdrawal of the appointment letter, and termination thereof on account of his HIV status and such other grounds upon his HIV status being made aware to the second respondent is wrongful.
The petitioner said “x” was informed that his services had been terminated as he failed his medical test.
The petitioner said Sri Lankan Airlines being a state institution, is bound by the National Policy on HIV and National Policy on HIV and AIDS in Sri Lanka.