The Madras High Court granted relief to a man who was convicted in two cases for swindling money from a cooperative bank. What sets this order apart is that the court did so on humanitarian grounds because the person in question is HIV positive.
The petitioner, who was working at the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Bank in 1991, had allegedly swindled several lakh rupees during his tenure. He was accused in two separate cases.
He was convicted by two trial courts in 2010 and 2013 respectively in both the cases. He was sentenced to a year of imprisonment for each of the offences. Later on, the man had challenged these in a lower appellate court. He told the court that because he was HIV positive, he did not have much time left in his life.
On grounds of his health, a district sessions court lessened his sentence to a month for each of the two cases.
Still aggrieved with the verdicts, the man had further filed two criminal revision petitions which the Madras HC allowed. According to reports, the order was passed in March 2018, but was only made available to the concerned parties on Monday.
Presiding over the case, Justice MV Muralidharan observed, â€śI am of the view that the punishment of imprisonment for a period of one month (already revised) has to be modified due to the nature of the disease and the sufferings of the convict, on a humanitarian ground.â€ť
However, the petitioner has been fined an amount of Rs 5,000 for each of the two offences.
Incidentally, this news comes on the heels of a Reuters report about a HIV positive man in London who had become the second person in the world to be cured of the virus.
The man had received bone marrow stem cells from a person with a rare genetic mutation that resisted HIV. Eighteen months ago, he had stopped taking antiretroviral drugs. Now, tests are no longer detecting traces of the deadly virus in his body. The doctorsâ€™ team was co-led by Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist.