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Fundamental rights of eunuchs: HC seeks Centre's response

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The Bombay High today directed Union Ministries of Health as well as Social Justice and Empowerment to file an affidavit stating what steps it proposes to take for protection of fundamental rights of eunuchs and transsexuals.

A division bench of Chief Justice and Justice M S Sanklecha was hearing a filed by an NGO, Salvation of Oppressed Eunuchs, seeking safeguard of the fundamental rights for eunuchs.

The bench was today informed by the petitioner that despite making several representations to the state ministry of Social Justice and Health and Family Welfare they have not come to any solution.

The court today suggested that it would summon the Joint Secretaries of the two state ministries and seek an explanation.

Advocate Advait Sethna, appearing for the Union government, told the court that any steps that will be taken towards the issue will have to be placed before the first and sought time to file an affidavit.

Accepting this, the court directed the two Union Ministries to file their affidavit by August 1.

The PIL has sought the court to direct authorities to ensure that oppression of eunuchs ends, and that even they may be allowed to exercise fundamental rights like every other citizen of India.

Apart from demanding right to create voter ID cards for approximately 19 lakh eunuchs across India, the NGO has also sought that the eunuch community be treated as minority and benefits and legal protection extended to minority communities be extended to them.

"The atrocities and crimes committed against eunuchs should be taken seriously and the culprits should be punished," the PIL states, adding, even passing derogatory remarks should be punishable under law.

It further seeks amendment to sections 375 and 377 of the Indian Penal Code in order to include transsexuals and eunuchs in the definition of the term "rape".

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