10 July 2022 5:15 AM GMT
While issuing a slew of directions for the upliftment of the LGBTQ+ community, the Madras High Court has directed the National Medical Commission to enlist "Conversion Therapy" as professional misconduct. This comes in continuation of the earlier directions issued by the court wherein the Commission was directed to ensure that the State Medical Councils shall notify conversion...
While issuing a slew of directions for the upliftment of the LGBTQ+ community, the Madras High Court has directed the National Medical Commission to enlist "Conversion Therapy" as professional misconduct.
This comes in continuation of the earlier directions issued by the court wherein the Commission was directed to ensure that the State Medical Councils shall notify conversion therapy as misconduct in their rules so that there is consistency bet the Commission rules and the Council rules.
When the matter came up on Friday, Justice Anand Venkatesh looked into the Draft Conduct Regulations 2022, which has been put in the public domain and suggestions have been invited. The court noted that only gender-based discrimination had been included as misconduct and "Conversion Therapy" was conspicuously absent.
The court also directed the Standing Council for NMC to refer to the suggestions put forward by the petitioners about conversion practices and the scope of its prohibition. The petitioners, in their submissions, also made reference to the Legislation in other countries with respect to conversion therapy and the United Nations report of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The court said that the same could be utilised by the NMC while finalising the enlistment of professional misconduct for "conversion therapy".
The Senior Panel Counsel for the NCERT also submitted that a module titled Training Module on Integrating Transgender Concerns in Schooling Process has been developed based on the earlier training material 'Inclusion of Transgender Children in School Education: Concerns and Roadmap' and in consultation with the different stakeholders. The same was being formatted and will be shared with all the stakeholders by second half of August 2022. It was submitted that timelines have been fixed by NCERT and training for sensitization of different stakeholders of school education shall start from the coming academic session.
In the previous hearing, the court had also directed the Central Government to list out the number of NGOs working in this area and also to report on the nature of work carried out by these NGOs. In response to this, a Status Report was filed informing that advertisement has been released calling for applications from NGOs/CBOs to enlist themselves under the Garima Greh Scheme.
However, the Court clarified that its directions are not limited to NGOs coming under the fold of Garima Greh Scheme but should include all NGOs who are working for the welfare of the persons belonging to the LGBTQ+ community. It ordered,
"These NGOs need not necessarily come within the fold of Garima Greh Scheme. Hence, the learned Senior Panel Counsel is directed to inform the 10 th respondent, to take steps to independently enlist the NGOs, who are working for the welfare of the persons belong to LGBTQ+ community and who are not enlisting themselves under the Garima Greh Scheme"
The bench had previously issued guidelines against harassment of the community by Police authorities, and had directed for change in queerphobic curriculum. The court had also accepted the standardised guidelines/ prospective glossary submitted by the state government for referring to LGBTQ+ persons and had instructed the press/ media to follow the glossary in letter and spirit. The court also published in its order a Tamil glossary of LGBTQ+ terms prepared by queer communities and individuals. The court had also directed the State to organise a program for sensitizing school teachers on dealing with issues relating to children belonging to the LQBTQ+ community.
The matter has been posted to 25.07.2022 for further hearing.
Case Title: S Sushma and Anr v. Director General of Police and Ors
Case No: WP 7284 of 2021