Amend rules to punish police personnel who harass LGBTQIA+ community, Court directs Tamil Nadu

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09/01/2021

The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to amend the conduct rules applicable to police personnel and provide for punishment to those who harass either the people belonging to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and such others’ (LGBTQIA+) community or harass non-governmental organisations that support such community members. Justice N. Anand Venkatesh issued the direction after expressing disappointment over complaints of the police continuing to harass the community despite comprehensive instructions issued by him on June 7 to various stakeholders with the aim of providing counselling, monetary support, legal assistance and protection to the LGBTQIA+ community members who face serious discrimination in society. The judge ordered that even the sensitisation programmes to be conducted for the police personnel, in accordance with one of the directions issued by him on June 7, must be conducted through persons belonging to the community or LGBTQIA+ activists or NGO workers involved in the cause of supporting and protecting the community from various onslaughts. Justice Venkatesh requested Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram to instruct the authorities concerned to be more proactive on the issue. The judge told the A-G that the State of Tamil Nadu was known for reforms in the interest of persons belonging to marginalized sections and therefore, it must be a role model in creating a favourable atmosphere for the LGBTQIA+ community too.

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