India’s law and policy framework remains a key barrier for LGBTIQA+ inclusion. Punitive laws such as IPC 377 criminalize consenting relationships among individuals of the same (birth-assigned) sex, and contradict progressive verdicts such as the Supreme Court’s NALSA (2014) ruling on transgender rights. The current (as of 2017) draft version of the Transgender Rights bill is at odds with the fundamental principle of self identification of gender as laid out in the NALSA verdict, and is silent on many of the trans-inclusive measures proposed by the verdict.
In partnership with community groups, legal advocacy groups and other civil society organizations, SAATHII works to:
i. Support ongoing efforts for reading down Section 377 nationally and/or at state levels.
ii. Support ongoing efforts to ensure the passage of a Transgender Rights Act that is in full compliance with the spirit and letter of the NALSA verdict, and oppose the current Trans Bill that is
ii. Advocate for development of trans-inclusive policies, schemes, welfare boards and gender/name change procedures where they do not exist, and to operationalise them in the spirit of the NALSA verdict where they do exist.
iii. Advocate for state-level rule changes in Acts such as the Legal Services Act, Juvenile Justice Act and Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act inclusive of LGBTIQA+ adults and gender-nonconforming children, as appropriate.
iv. Document case studies of individuals who have experienced exclusion, discrimination and violence in the hands of the law, law enforcement, from identity-card issuing authorities and/or government departments and policies around social welfare and entitlements.
Organisations involved in this effort are Vikalp (Women’s Group) in Vadodara, Nirangal-SIAAP in Chennai, AMANA and ETA in Imphal, Maa Maajhigouri in Rayagada, and Queerala in Kochi. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) provides technical support to some of our initiatives through their team in New Delhi [see briefing papers on Section 377, Transgender Rights, Domestic Violence Act, Juvenile Justice Act]. SAATHII also engages with the State and District Legal Service Authorities, legal aid NGOs and individual human rights lawyers.
To view case studies relating to law and policy, view all posts at https://lgbtiqainclusionindia.wordpress.com/tag/law-policy/