Since the last decade, Indian judiciary has been making some groundbreaking judgements regarding the LGBTQ+ community starting with decriminalising homosexuality. Renowned activist Bindumadhav Khire has released a legal guide for cases pertaining to the community to further help in them getting and knowing their legal rights.
The director of Bindu Queer Rights Foundation, Khire says his aim behind releasing the guide is to provide legal remedies to the most vulnerable sections of the community. The manual deals with several common scenarios that put people from the community in legal hassles like elopement, being thrown out of the house and police not filing FIRs among others.
The Why and How
"There hasn't been any such legal guide in India till date. Social workers who do not have formal legal training sometimes fail to understand the risk they run and the actions that should be taken in a particular scenario. The legal guide provides them with a nuanced and casewise study," told Khire.
He has capitalised on his two-decade long experience of working for the sexual minorities in Vadodara, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolhapur and West Bengal to put the manual together. Additionally, he spoke to several activists, social workers and lawyers from across the country, thereby including their collective wisdom in the guide as well.
In the manual, cases are explained through illustrations with the help of fictitious cases to simulate several real world scenarios. These characters take the readers through all the possible courses of action in a given situation, and their outcomes. It teaches social workers to employ their strengths and be alert about their weaknesses while going about such issues.
One such intricate case is that of minors. The queer minors sometimes come in conflict with society, their parents or even the justice system. Elucidating on one such example, Khire said, "Domestic violence in same-sex partnership doesn't hold the similar legal status as it does in a heterosexual relationship. So, the statutes available for general violence are invoked in these cases. The legal guide directs exactly how a social worker should help the victim."
Keeping in mind the huge extent of cyber bullying and extrotion cases against LGBTQ+ youth, the guide also has a detailed section on cyber crime and cyber security, he added.
Another similar initiative run by Bindu Queer Rights Foundation is the Maharashtra Queer Network which aims at banning conversion therapy, in the wake of the latest Madras High Court decision. "Despite the very progressive Mental Healthcare Act of 2017, we often come across cases of tortuous conversion therapy. Taking inspiration from Madras High Court, our attempt is to propel a ban on conversion therapy in Maharashtra," he explained.
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