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25 Human Rights Quarterly 791 (2003)


It is believed that India will soon have the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases of any country. Some reports project that 37 million people will be infected within the next two decades. Sadly, few studies have examined the legal claims of those who suffer with this disease in this, the world's largest democracy. In this article, I systematically examine how the courts in India have responded to rights-based claims brought by people who have HIV. The conventional wisdom is that the Indian judiciary frequently protects the rights of the poor, the under-represented, and the ill. But my findings reveal that, at least for people with HIV, the courts have not extended to this group full constitutional protection. The implications of this conclusion force us to revisit whether the courts in India best safeguard the rights of others who are disadvantaged.