[Editorial Analysis] Do no harm

Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Conversion Therapy
Mains level: Fundamental Rights

Context:

• Recently Madras high court in its ruling on S Sushma v Commissioner of police explicitly called for an India-wide ban on Conversion Therapy.

• It also demanded for legal action against those who practice.

Conversion Therapy:

• It is a pseudo-medical practice that falsely professes to be able to change the sexual orientation of the LGBTQIA+ community members.

Need for a ban on Conversion Therapy:

• The therapy is deeply harmful as it subjects the victims to various forms of physical and emotional abuse.

• The UN’s study on gender violence and discrimination found that 98% of those who undergo such therapy experience lasting damage including Depression and anxiety, permanent physical harm and loss of faith.

• The community is being exploited on the entrenched false belief that non-heterosexual orientation is immoral.

• There have been increasing reports of conversion therapy across 5 states, where persons underwent therapy are resorting to suicide attempt.

• It is a dreadful form of discrimination that is clouded by false claims to medical legitimacy has to end.
• It is a misguided and unscientific notion that sexuality can be altered through external intervention.
• The ban will reduce its prevalence and increase the social acceptability of the community.

• Outlawing the practice in India would legally prevent the forced administration of medication and the physical and mental abuse that characterizes conversion therapy.

• Banning will prevent future tragedies of suicides and pain that LGBTQIA+ subjected.

India’s efforts and shortcomings towards homosexuality:

• In India in recent years. Laws and attitudes towards homosexuality have evolved.

• The Indian Psychiatric society already declared that homosexuality is not a mental illness and cannot be changed by external attempts.

• Decriminalization of Section 377 gave legal sanctity to consensual homosexual sex.

But these positive efforts fall short because:

• Still, Mental Healthcare Act does not provide adequate protection against conversion therapy,

• Though it bans medical treatment without consent but it allows consent-based medical treatment.

• Additionally, the act is inadequate for protecting the LGBTQIA+ people’s rights as it fails to prevent categorizing homosexuality as a mental illness.

• At present, India has no law banning conversion therapy that allows the quacks to continue this harmful practice.

Way ahead:

• The need for the LGBTQIA+ community in India is a special legislative action that protects them against the real and lasting damage that conversion therapy poses.

• India needs a series of measures to discourage conversion therapy such as:

• Imposing professional sanctions against persons engaging in this.

• Banning conversion therapy involving minors.

• Banning the most egregious forms of conversion therapy.

• India should echo Britain’s pledge to outlaw conversion therapy and such legislations have been already passed in many countries.

• India must take decisive and meaningful action to end this vicious and medically baseless practice.

Conclusion:

• India’s actions in recent years towards the vulnerable sections mainly the LGBTQIA+ community is laudable. But its actions fall short in ending the ghastly cases of discrimination such as conversion therapy.

• It is high time for India to implement the Madras High Court suggestions and follow the footsteps of the best practices nations.

Mains Questions:

Q.1) How far do you think that the creation of National Parks solves the problem of man-animal conflict. Elaborate

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