Madras High Court Applauds Tamil Nadu's Gender and Sexual Minority Policy Efforts

Mainstream
11-Jun-2024
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In a notable judicial endorsement, the Madras High Court on Monday commended the Tamil Nadu government's initiatives to create a safe and inclusive environment for the transgender and LGBTQIA+ community through its forthcoming Gender and Sexual Minority Policy.

Justice Anand Venkatesh praised the State Public Prosecutor Hasan Mohammed Jinnah’s commitment to finalizing this policy, granting a three-month extension to ensure its completion. "This Court is confident that the State will finalize and notify the policy within three months. If this is done, it will set a precedent for the entire country and give a day of hope for the LGBTQIA+ community. It is amazing that it has come from Tamil Nadu, which the rest of the country considers to be a relatively conservative State," Justice Venkatesh remarked.

The Judge's comments underscore the significance of Tamil Nadu's progressive stance, especially given its conservative reputation. The High Court's optimism reflects the broader potential impact of the policy, envisioning it as a national benchmark for LGBTQIA+ rights and safety.

Additionally, the Court highlighted a critical gap in the medical education system regarding the prohibition of conversion therapy. Despite the National Medical Commission's (NMC) September 2002 notification categorizing conversion therapy as professional misconduct under the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette, and Ethics) Regulations, this change has not yet been incorporated into the curricula for Forensic Sciences and Psychiatry students.

Justice Venkatesh directed the NMC to revise the relevant curriculum to include the prohibition of conversion therapy within three months, ensuring that future medical professionals are adequately informed about this critical ethical standard. The proceedings stem from a 2022 plea by a homosexual couple seeking police protection. Recognizing the broader implications of their case, Justice Venkatesh expanded its scope, leading to a series of directives aimed at fostering an inclusive policy framework at both state and national levels.

This proactive judicial stance reflects a growing recognition of the rights and needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, aligning with global human rights standards. The finalization and implementation of Tamil Nadu's Gender and Sexual Minority Policy are anticipated to herald significant progress for LGBTQIA+ rights in India, offering a beacon of hope and a potential model for other states to follow.

As the Tamil Nadu government works towards finalizing the policy, the Madras High Court's directives reinforce the importance of timely and effective action to protect and uplift marginalized communities. The state's efforts, once realized, promise to contribute significantly to the ongoing struggle for equality and acceptance for all individuals, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News writer