HC asks Delhi govt to file latest report on status of draft policy on sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants

 The Delhi High Court has asked the state government to file an up-to-date report on the status of a draft policy regarding sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants and children.

The high court passed the order after it was informed by the counsel for the Delhi government that a committee under the chairmanship of the Dean of Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) was constituted by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) for drafting such a policy.

It was hearing a petition seeking contempt action against the Delhi government for alleged non-compliance of the high court’s September 27, 2022 order by which the state was granted eight weeks to take appropriate decision on the recommendations made by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) on the issue of sex-selective surgeries.

Sex-selective surgeries involve medical procedures performed on intersex infants, who may not display all biological differences at birth. Intersex children are those that have genitals, chromosomes or reproductive organs that don’t fit into a male/female sex binary.

“Keeping in view the letter dated August 25, 2023, as of today, I am not inclined to issue contempt notice. Let the matter be listed after 8 weeks for the respondent (Delhi government) to file an up-to-date status report indicating the status of the draft policy,” Justice Jasmeet Singh said in a recent order.

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In the main petition, the DCPCR had recommended that the Delhi government should declare a ban on medically unnecessary sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants and children except in cases of life-threatening situations.

The public interest litigation filed by non-government funded trust Srishti Madurai Educational Research Foundation has sought direction to the government to implement the DCPCR’s recommendations and declare a ban on such surgeries.

During the hearing on the contempt petition, the petitioner’s counsel said despite the court’s directions the respondents have not taken any action.

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