They are done without fully informed approval, says plea
The Delhi Commission for Protections of Child Rights (DCPCR), in an order on Wednesday, recommended that the Delhi government should declare a ban on medically unnecessary, sex selective surgeries on intersex infants and children except in the case of life-threatening situations.
The commission passed the order after deliberating on a plea that brought to its notice that there have been instances wherein intersex people are treated as disabled, and hence are approached through a medical lens, reducing them to an ‘impairment’ leading to medical interventions that can lead to long-term impairments and requiring lifetime medical care.
The plea added that most of the times these surgeries are conducted without prior, free and fully informed autonomous consent.
The order read: “After careful deliberations, the commission is of the considered opinion that the Government of Delhi should declare a ban on medically unnecessary, sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants and children except in cases of life-threatening situations and advises the government accordingly.”
The commission said that it conducted an enquiry into a plea and requested submissions from the Delhi Medical Council, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of NCT of Delhi, Department of Social Welfare, Govt. of NCT of Delhi and organisations and experts in the domain.
Adviser to the commission, a human rights activist Anjali Gopalan, in her response said that such medical interventions are violative of the fundamental right to bodily integrity and physical autonomy. She added that some intersex people can face significant health issues that require treatment, which may include hormone-based therapy or surgery while others do not require medical intervention.
The Delhi Medical Council in its response said that surgical interventions and gender-related medical interventions should be delayed until the patient can provide meaningful informed consent/assent to these interventions.
Madras HC order
The DCPCR also said it had taken due notice of the judgment of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court wherein the court directed the Government of Tamil Nadu to ban sex reassignment surgeries on intersex infants and children. It said that pursuant to the Madras High Court order, Government of Tamil Nadu issued an order to ban sex reassignment surgeries on intersex infants and children except on life threatening situations and orders accordingly.
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