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Meghalaya High Court: Separate Facilities to be created for LGBTQ

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The Meghalaya High Court observes that  separate facilities must be created at all correctional homes for transgenders or members of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community, particularly keeping in mind that they are not harassed by the other inmates.

The  Division Bench of  Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and  Justice W. Diengdoh heard a Suo Moto Public Interest Litigation (PIL) registered on 12.06.2019 as the Court found on inspection of the jail, conditions of the jail inmates to be very pathetic. The ratio of accommodation and number of jail inmates were found to be totally unmatched. The manner in which they were kept in the rooms found to be so congested and unhygienic to be able to survive for a human being.

On June 06 , during the hearing it was submitted by the state  that as far as the correctional home at Shillong is concerned, a new block has been substantially constructed to accommodate the huge number of inmates. According to the State, the construction of the part for convicted inmates and another part for undertrials and mentally challenged inmates is complete to the extent of 80 per cent and an additional dining hall and kitchen are complete to the extent of 70 per cent.

As far as the proposed new correctional home at New Shillong is concerned, the State said that though the construction work has not commenced, a sum of Rs. 70 lakh out of the proposed initial expenditure of Rs. 7 crore has already been released for the project.

Even though the plan has already been prepared and the area earmarked,the Court held that  the State may do well to consider whether it would be appropriate to construct the new correctional home in New Shillong, which has been identified as the business district of Shillong in future and where all major administrative wings, including the new Assembly, are coming up. The area also has North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health & Medical Sciences  (NEIGRIHMS) on one side and the new campuses of the Indian Institute of Management and the National Institute of Fashion Technology.

 In the event New Shillong develops as it is proposed, a correctional home in the middle of the business district may be found to be inappropriate in the next 20 or 30 years by the time the place developed.

“While on the subject, it is necessary to emphasise that separate facilities must be created at all correctional homes for transgenders or members of the LGBTQ community, particularly keeping in mind that they are not harassed by the other inmates”, the order reads.

It is hoped by the Bench that the temporary additional facilities at the present Shillong correctional home would be ready by then.

Matter is listed on July 18, 2022 for further hearing.

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