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Central Govt Forms Committee to Address Queer Community Issues Post 'Supriyo v Union of India' Ruling"

Central Govt Forms Committee to Address Queer Community Issues Post 'Supriyo v Union of India' Ruling"

The Supreme Court, in its ruling on "Supriyo v Union of India," has directed the Central Government to establish a six-member committee. This committee is tasked with delving into a range of issues concerning the queer community.

Chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, the Committee includes the Secretaries from various key departments: Home, Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, Legislative, and Social Justice and Empowerment.

According to the notification from the Centre, the Committee has the authority to review and provide recommendations regarding the following matters:

(i) Strategies to be implemented by both the Central Government and the State Governments to prevent discrimination in the access to goods and services for the queer community.

(ii) measures to be taken such that queer community do not face any threat of violence, harassment or coercion;

(iii) measures to ensure that queer individuals are not subjected to involuntary medical treatments or surgeries. This includes developing modules to address the mental health needs of queer persons.

(iv) measures to be taken to ensure that there is no discrimination in access to social welfare entitlements to queer persons;

(v) any other issues as deemed necessary.

In the case of Supriyo v Union of India, a 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court declined to provide legal recognition for same-sex marriages, noting that this was a decision within the purview of Parliament. The Court also rejected the petition to invalidate the Special Marriage Act 1954, which does not permit the registration of same-sex marriages. However, the Court emphasized the importance of protecting LGBTQIA+ couples from harassment.

The Court noted the assurance given by the Solicitor General that the Union Government would establish a Committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary. This Committee's mandate would be to define and clarify the scope of entitlements for queer couples in unions.

In the judgment authored by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, it was stipulated that the Committee must comprise experts possessing expertise in areas relevant to the social, psychological, and emotional requirements of individuals within the queer community. Additionally, members of the queer community themselves should be included in the committee.

The Committee is mandated to conduct extensive stakeholder consultations within the queer community, ensuring the participation of individuals from marginalized groups. Additionally, it must engage with the governments of the various States and Union Territories before finalizing its decisions.

As per the judgment, the recommendations put forth in the report of the Committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary must be implemented at the administrative level by both the Union Government and the governments of the States and Union Territories.




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