Madras HC Judge issues guidelines to protect the LGBTQIA+ community from police harassment

The Madras High Court on Monday directed the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to enlist NGOs that could provide legal assistance and monetary support to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and such others’ (LGBTQIA+) community until a law could be enacted to protect them.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh ordered the ministry to upload the details of NGOs and their contact details, address and services provided by them on its website within eight weeks. He directed that confidential records of those who approached be retained and that victims receive need-based relief. 

He has directed that when police receive missing person cases involving consenting individuals from the LGBTQIA+ community, they should take their statements and, after establishing the consent problem, close the complaint without harassing them.

The order directed the ministry to make necessary changes in 12 weeks to the existing government short stay homes, Anganwadi shelters, Garima Greh and provide accommodation, food, medical care and recreational facilities to those in need of assistance. 

The orders were passed in response to a writ petition filed by two women, who fled from Madurai to Chennai due to opposition from their parents to their relationship as a couple. 

At the request of the petitioners’ counsel S. Manuraj, a single bench of Justice Anand Venkatesh created an extensive judgement after asking the Madurai police to stay out of the matter.

 

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