The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Aam Aadmi Party government and the Capital’s child rights commission on a petition seeking to ban sex-selective surgeries on children and infants born with “intersex” traits except in life-threatening situations, reported The Indian Express.
According to the petition filed by non-governmental trust Srishti Madurai Educational Research Foundation, intersex people are those who are born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definitions of female or male.
The organisation claims to have carried out extensive work on matters related to human rights violations of intersex people, reported The Hindu.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh asked the AAP government and Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights to respond to the notice by October 11.
The foundation cited an opinion of the Delhi child rights body against such surgeries in the matter. It also argued that the Supreme Court has held that residents cannot be forced to undergo medical procedures for legal recognition of their gender identity.
The organisation said that the Madras High Court had in a verdict in April 2019 directed the Tamil Nadu government to ban sex reassignment surgeries on intersex infants and children.
“There are many national and international precedents that support the argument of how medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children interfere with their right to bodily autonomy, the right of health and informed consent, children’s right and women’s right,” the plea said.
It said that a recommendation by the child rights body to ban such surgeries was sent to the Delhi government in January. The government, however, has not yet taken any action on it, the organisation told the court.
In its petition, the organisation said that the “medically unnecessary normalising surgeries” can have a drastic psychological impact on intersex citizens. It can even stop them from seeking medical attention in future, the petition said.
It opined that such surgeries can be delayed till the infants can give meaningful informed consent to them.
The petition has sought the implementation of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights recommendations. It has also sought to formulate detailed guidelines specifying the conditions under which such surgeries can be performed on intersex infants and children.
The High Court will hear the case on October 12.