Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Recognise "sexual orientation" as a source of discrimination-asks NLS

The high court of Delhi may have decriminalised the sex between two consenting adults of same sexes and Supreme Court of the nation also may have indicated that it is in favour of the High Court's well reasoned order, the social taboos, moral brigade & attitudes in general continue to discriminate against those with different sexual orientations than the majority.

Same is the case with people with HIV status, those cured of leprosy. Social attitudes are often difficult to change. Continuous education and acceptance by the young brigade is the only solution. We see that people with different sexual orientation face discrimination at workplace too though their orientation may not be relevant to their work or productivity!

Therefore, now the National Law School has asked the Centre to recognise "sexual orientation" as a source of discrimination against which there should be statutory protection. Our constitution and central laws already provide that there could be no discrimination on the grounds of religion, sex, caste, language, disability, descent, place of birth, residence and race among others. The Persons with Disabilities Act already covers such a protection that there could be no discrimination on the grounds of disability in any matter - be it education, employement, housing or otherwise.

Besides Sexual orientation, the EOC is also looking at adding pregnancy, gender identity, occupation, skin colour, political opinion and age also the grounds of discrimination!

I hope such a move in form of an enactment will give strength to the equality among all citizens of this country including those with diversities, though a large section of our political class and soceity is still divided ! Can we let the life prevail?

regards

SC Vashishth

Here is the news from Time of India, To read from source- Click here

NEW DELHI: The move towards legitimising "gay rights" seems to be getting stronger by the day.

After the Delhi High Court order decriminalising homosexuality, the National Law School has asked the Centre to recognise "sexual orientation" as a source of discrimination against which there should be statutory protection.

The law school wants the Centre to put "sexual orientation" in the list of `grounds of discrimination' requiring safeguard in the Equal Opportunities Commission. S Japhet, director of Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy in the Bangalore school, told TOI, "There have been studies to show that sexual orientation of gays leads to discrimination in employment."

The proposed EOC is an ambitious move to redress the discrimination against social groups in employment, education and housing. These three domains are most plagued by prejudices, be it based on religion, caste or race. It is to be seen if the Centre obliges the law school by moving on its request. An explicit step to bar discrimination on a person's "sexual orientation" will be a big step in legitimising gay rights. The EOC, in the nascent stage of evolution, is likely to be empowered to take a complaint from a group to question the private and public enterprises in question. It would mean that any move to keep gays out of a workplace or a housing colony or an educational institution would invite the intervention of the`discrimination watchdog'.

The N R Madhava Menon committee, which drew up the details of EOC, shortlisted grounds on which discrimination should be prohibited. It includes prejudices based on religion, sex, caste, language, disability, descent, place of birth, residence and race among others. While the committee has said that the list could be kept open to accommodate more grounds in future, the law school has asked minority affairs ministry to include "sexual orientation, pregnancy, gender identity, occupation, skin colour, political opinion and age" in the purview of EOC. Besides `sexual orientation', the law school has also asked the Centre to list a bar on certain "food preferences" as a form of discrimination. It said, "Discrimination based on food preference, when it has a disproportionate impact on a deprived group, should be expressly provided as an instance of indirect discrimination." Sources said the demand from the reknowned institution will test the Centre on branding these contentious issues as forms of discrimination given the divided political opinion. Its acceptance would be tantamount to forcing organisations against "gays" into accepting them.

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