Former CEC Expresses Concern Over SC's 377 Verdict

New Delhi
Former CEC Expresses Concern Over SC's 377 Verdict

Former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi today expressed concern over the Supreme Court verdict on gay rights and hoped the government will address the issue.

"I am also concerned about the Supreme Court ruling yesterday. The ball is now in government's court... It's up to them to decide whether to address this issue through legislative means or through some other course," he said during an interaction with sex workers, transgenders and activists associated with this field.

He said the ruling has come as a blow for the LGBT community as they have been deprived of a platform where they can speak about problems confronting them.

"It is easy to deal with the issues faced by the community when they have a platform to speak up and for the people to know about the problems that cripple them. But unfortunately, with the ruling of the apex court, such platforms might cease to exist," he said.

Acknowledgment of the LGBT community is crucial to prevent them from going "underground" and for the government, health workers, civil society organisations and various other stakeholders to reach out to them, he said.

Quraishi, who is also a member of the News Broadcasting Standards Authority, said that it was important to record the actual figure of the community to arrive at a constructive solution to the problems faced by them.

He said a study conducted in Mysore had revealed that the actual figure of the MSM (men-having-sex with men) community was far less than the real picture.

He recalled that when he was the CEC, the transgender community met him with a grievance that they are not allowed to vote and were ridiculed by the officers on their gender.

"They mentioned how the election form only has space for male and female. We immediately passed an order to include 'others' in the form. Census is also planning to incorporate the same", he said.

Drawing attention to the role of media in the present times, he favoured an independent authority to monitor content.

"The unrestricted freedom enjoyed by media is a cause of concern. There is a need for an independent authority to monitor the content of media so that it gets rid of paid news, sting operation, surrogate advertising and the various biased news packages," he said.

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