Cops harassing LGBT+ community will be punished: Tamil Nadu amends lawtext_fields
Chennai: An amendment to existing laws will allow for police officers misbehaving with members of the LGBTQIA community or those who advocate for them to be punished, making Tamil Nadu one of the first states in India to codify such anti-discrimination measures into legislation.
The amendment to the Tamil Nadu Subordinate Police Officers' Conduct Rules was published in the government gazette on Wednesday. It came months after the Madras high court asked the state administration to sensitise the police force about LGBTQIA issues.
"No police officer shall indulge in any act of harassment of any person belonging to the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) + Community and the persons working for the welfare of the said community," said the order issued by the government, signed by additional chief secretary SK Prabhakar.
"We think this is a very significant order and can help in reducing police violence on our communities. We have already lost so many of our trans brothers and sisters to harassment and brutality. We also face everyday harassment and torture at the hands of policemen. We hope this law is strongly implemented to end this," said Grace Banu, a Dalit and transgender rights activist to Hindustan Times.
In March last year, the Madras High Court had passed an order specifying that counselling be given to the parents of two women who had run away from home after their respective families had opposed their relationship. The family members had also threatened the NGO that sheltered them and filed a kidnapping case.
The New Indian Express had reported that an LGBTQI+ activist – Shiva Kumar – and a trans man named Selvam, allegedly faced harassment by the Madurai police for sheltering the lesbian couple. Following the court's intervention the case against the couple was dropped and the state agreed not to pursue the matter further.
In June 2021, the Madras High Court also directed National Medical Commission, Indian Psychiatric Society and Rehabilitation Council of India to take action, including withdrawal of licence to practice, against professionals involved in any form or method of conversion "therapy" to LGBTIQA+ community members.