Courts Update Delhi High Court seeks response from Delhi government, Centre...

Delhi High Court seeks response from Delhi government, Centre on a plea seeking a ban on sex-selective surgeries on infants

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New Delhi Aug 25(ILNS): The Delhi High Court, today, sought response from the Delhi Government, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights upon a plea seeking a ban on sex-selective surgeries on infants born with intersex traits.

The Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued a notice in the public interest litigation filed by a non-government funded Trust registered at Madurai and posted the matter for October 11, 2021.

The plea has been filed through Advocates Robin Raju, Yash Prakash, and Deepa Joseph, by Srishti Madurai Educational Research Foundation, a Trust formed by a group of student volunteers working for the rights of gender-queer and intersex communities all over the country.

The plea highlights a decision was passed by the Madras High Court, in the year 2019, directing the Government of Tamil Nadu to effectively ban sex reassignment surgeries on intersex infants and children; pursuant to which, the Tamil Nadu Government, vide order dated August 28, 2019, decided to ban sex reassignment surgeries on intersex infants and children. Subsequently, a plea was submitted before the DCPCR by Dr. Satendra Singh, Air Cmde (Dr.) Sanjay Sharma and Dr. Aqsa Shaikh; highlighting instances wherein intersex people are treated as disabled, and hence are approached through a medical lens, that can lead to long-term impairments that require lifetime medical care.

According to the petitioner, the DCPCR, on January 13, 2021, came to a considered opinion that the Delhi Government should declare a ban on medically unnecessary, sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants and children except in cases of life-threatening situations. However, no steps towards the implementation of the opinion of the DCPCR have been taken as yet, claims the plea.  

In light of the foregoing, the plea inter-alia prays for a direction for the implementation of the opinion of the DCPCR and declaration of a ban on medically unnecessary, sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants and children. In addition, the plea also seeks framing of detailed policy or guidelines specifying the conditions in which the medical surgery on intersex infants and children can be performed. 

Reliance has been placed on the decision of the Apex Court in the case of “National Legal Services Authority(NALSA) v. Union of India & Ors.”, wherein the Apex Court categorically stated that no one shall be forced to undergo medical procedures, including sex reassignment surgeries, sterilization or hormonal therapy, as a requirement for legal recognition of their gender identity.

The plea avers thus: “sex-selective surgeries or medically unnecessary normalizing surgeries have a long-lasting drastic psychological impact on the minds of intersex people and deters them from even seeking medical attention in future.”/ILNS/BG/KR/SNG

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