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EX-IAF man moves rights body on disclosure of his COVID-19 status by Nagpur civic body

The complainant has strong objection over such disclosure of data of persons who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Published: 21st August 2020 04:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st August 2020 04:13 PM   |  A+A-

coronavirus, PPE, COVID 19

For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NAGPUR: A retired Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel has approached the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) against the Nagpur civic body for revealing his identity to an outfit affiliated to the RSS after he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The city resident, in his complaint filed on August 19 through his advocate Asim Sarode, sought the commission to take action against the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) authorities and the RSS-linked Lok Kalyan Samiti (LKS) for committing breach of his privacy.

The complainant has strong objection over such disclosure of data of persons who have tested positive for COVID-19.

It is a direct violation of a patients right and the individuals right to privacy, the complaint said.

The man said he tested positive for COVID-19 on August 16 and was asked by the Nagpur civic body to quarantine himself at his residence.

On August 18, he claimed he got a call from one Sumadhar Gokhale, who said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), through its arm Lok Kalyan Samiti, was providing services to persons who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The caller (Gokhale) started asking the complainant details of his health and also family members, it said.

"The complainant sought to know (from Gokhale) from where he got his number to which the caller said the civic body provided them the data of positive patients," the plea in the MSHRC said.

The complainant then contacted NMC Assistant Commissioner Prakash Varade, who he claimed, said RSS members are helping the corporation with their work against the pandemic.

Not maintaining the privacy of patients, disclosing their information and personal data like their name and phone numbers to random persons is a serious issue relating to violation of fundamental rights, the complaint said.

It pointed out that the government has issued guidelines, saying the identity of COVID-19 patients should not be revealed so as to avoid their stigmatisation in the society.

The complainant never gave his consent to the Nagpur Municipal Corporation to hand over his medical information and contact details to the RSS or its Lok Kalyan Samiti, the former IAF man said.

He sought the commission to direct the Nagpur police to carry out a probe against Gokhale, NMC Assistant Commissioners Ram Joshi and Prakash Varade.

The complainant may kindly be given compensation of Re 1 each from Sumadhar Gokhale, Ram Joshi and Prakash Varade for having committed violation of fundamental rights, the complaint said.

When contacted, Gokhale said he would not like to comment on the issue as he has not received any notice from the commission.

NMC officials were not available for comment.

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