Medically Unnecessary Sex-Selective Surgery: Delhi HC Issues Notice to State, DCPCR
New Delhi: Seeking a response from the State Government and the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) the Delhi High Court on Wednesday has issued notice on a plea seeking to declare a ban on medically unnecessary sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants and children except in cases of life-threatening situations here.
Issuing notice to the Delhi Government and DCPCR, the High Court bench comprising of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh has listed the matter to be next heard in October, adds PTI.
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Srishti Madurai Educational Research Foundation through advocates Robin Raju, Yash Prakash and Deepa Joseph.
Medical Dialogues had recently reported that the petitioner organization had mentioned that back in January 2021 the DCPCR had given a considered opinion that the Respondent Delhi government and its state Ministry of Health and Family Welfare should declare a ban on medically unnecessary, sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants and children except in cases of life-threatening situations but no decision have been taken on the opinion of DCPCR.
"That the issue of sex-selective surgeries or medically unnecessary normalizing surgeries has a long-lasting drastic psychological impact on the minds of intersex people and deters them from even seeking medical attention in future. This aspect is proved by recent news reports that examine the reasons behind reluctance to seek medical help despite having symptoms of Covid-19 among a significant number of intersex people," stated the petition.
In this context, the petitioner relied upon the Supreme Court earlier order where the top court held that "none shall be forced to undergo medical procedures, including sex reassignment surgeries, sterilization, hormonal therapy, as a requirement for legal recognition for their gender identity."
Further, the Madras High Court had also directed the Government of Tamil Nadu to issue a Government Order enshrining the mandate of the Supreme Court so as to effectively ban sex reassignment surgeries on intersex infants and children.
The plea further mentioned that relying on the decision of the Madras High Court, three doctors had submitted a plea before DCPCR. In that plea, they had pointed out the instances where intersex people were treated as disabled, and hence the petition mentioned that approached through a medical lens, reducing them to an impairment leading to medical interventions could in turn lead to long term impairments requiring lifetime medical care
The petition also pointed out that the three doctors in their plea before DCPCR, had submitted that most of the time the surgeries were conducted without prior and fully informed autonomous consent.
Responding to the plea, DCPCR had appointed Anjali Gopalan and Gopi Shankar Madurai, the founders of the petitioner organization, as its advisors to take a considered decision.
Afterward DCPCR, on the basis of a response of the Delhi Medical Council, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of NCT of Delhi and Department of Social Welfare, Govt. of NCT of Delhi, had opined back on 13 January 2021,that the Delhi Government should declare a ban on the sex selective surgeries.
Seeking implementation of the opinion of DCPCR, the petition also said that the inaction on the part of the respondent is illegal, and arbitrary, thus violating the fundamental rights of the Petitioner guaranteed under the Constitution of India.
At this outset, the plea has pointed out the general confusion to wrongly identify intersex traits as Transgender or third gender.
"Intersex people are born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definitions of female or male. Transgender or transsexual people, on the other hand, are born with typical male or female anatomies but feel they are born into the wrong gender," the plea pointed out as per Live Law.
Besides, the plea also sought directions to frame a detailed policy or guidelines specifying the conditions when medical surgery on intersex infants and children can be performed.
The plea said the issue of such surgeries may not be trending news or an issue that gains prominence in front pages of newspapers but it is indeed an issue that exists and is prevalent in the society.
It said the cases of intersex human rights violations in India used to go unnoticed in the past, but nowadays due to the strong influence of social media, such news are being highlighted in the public domain.
The matter would be next heard on October 11.