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Centre sets up high-powered committee to suggest measures to end discrimination against queer community [Read Order]

By Jhanak Singh      18 April, 2024 12:11 PM      0 Comments
Centre sets up high powered committee to suggest measures to end discrimination against queer community

NEW DELHI: The Union government has formed a high-powered committee headed by Cabinet Secretary as its chairperson for taking measures by the central and state governments to end discrimination in access to goods and services to the queer community and any threat of violence, harassment or coercion to them.

According to a notification issued on April 16, the committee would also comprise Secretary of the department of Home, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Legislative Department, and Ministry of Law and Justice.

The Secretary of the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment would act as the convener.

The notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice also stated that the committee may co-opt experts and other officers if deemed necessary.

The committee has also been asked to suggest measures to be taken to ensure that queer person are not subjected to involuntary medical treatments, surgeries, etc, including modules to cover mental health of queer persons; measures to be taken to ensure that there is no discrimination in access to social welfare entitlements to queer persons; and any other issues as deemed necessary.

Notably, the committee was formed in accordance with directions issued by the Supreme Court Constitution bench judgment in "Supriyo alias Supriya Vs Union of India" on October 17, 2023.

Dealing with a batch of pleas for recognition of same sex marriage, the Supreme Court's Constitution bench had then said such couples continued to face discrimination and harassment in their daily lives, and had asked the government to act on its proposal to form a high-powered committee to expeditiously look into genuine human concerns faced by them.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had then told the court that the government will constitute such a committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for the purpose of defining and elucidating the scope of the entitlements of queer couples who are in unions.

The court had then directed the Centre and state governments to ensure that the queer community is not discriminated against because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. “Ensure that there is no discrimination in access to goods and services to the queer community, which are available to the public; Take steps to sensitise the public about queer identity, including that it is natural and not a mental disorder," the CJI had then said.

He also directed to establish and publicise the availability of ‘safe houses’ or 'Garima Grehs' in all districts to provide shelter to members of the queer community who are facing violence or discrimination. 

"No person shall be forced to undergo hormonal therapy or sterilisation or any other medical procedure either as a condition or prerequisite to grant legal recognition to their gender identity or otherwise,” the Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, who headed the bench, had said.

 

[Read Order]

 



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