The Kerala High Court recently ordered the Undergraduate Medical Education Board to respond to a plea made by two queer local organizations seeking the elimination of discriminating and inhuman remarks regarding the LGBTQIA community in MBBS textbooks.
Facts of the Case
The purpose of the writ petition was to bring to light violations of the basic and constitutional rights of a certain minority group, the LGBTQ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender). As per the petitioners, the LGBTQ community was offended by the discriminatory statements and inhuman allusions used in medical textbooks required for medical courses in India, which portrayed this group’s sexual or gender orientations as an offence, mental disease, or depravity.
Arguments from the side of the Petitioner
According to the petitioners, such statements were included in textbooks even though the rights of the aforementioned group have been acknowledged by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, which has decriminalized homosexuality relations between consenting individuals.
It was also argued that such comments, by stereotyping the LGBTQ community in an inhumane manner, violate their right to a dignified life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and discriminate against the said community from the social order, thereby infringing Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
Arguments from the side of the Respondents
The respondent stated that he had no objection to directing the evaluation of exhibits in line with the law, and also suggested that considering representations by multiple authorities may result in diverse opinions, therefore it is preferable to review representations by a single authority.
Observations made by the Court
The court remarked the issue as a serious concern as the petition brought to light the violations of the basic and constitutional rights of the sexual minority group i.e. LGBTQ and observed the discriminations done against the community.
The Decision of the Court
The court stated that this was a “serious issue” and ordered the Undergraduate Medical Education Board to act on the petition immediately.
Before doing so, the court also instructed the Under-Graduate Medical Education Board to collect the comments and views of the Kerala University of Health Sciences, Thrissur within 8 weeks of the order’s issuance.
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