SC To Hear Plea Against Rules Prohibiting Blood Donation From Gay And Transgender People

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Blood donations gay transgender people: The Supreme Court agrees to hear a plea against the Centre’s rules that bars blood donations from gay and transgender people.

On March 5, 2021, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre on a plea that challenged the health ministry’s guidelines that prohibits blood donation from gay men, transgender people and female sex workers. A bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued the notices after observing that the court does “not understand such medical matters.”

The plea challenged Clauses 15 and 51 of the general criteria under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Guidelines on Blood Donor Selection and Blood Donor Referral, 2017. Under the current rule, gay men, transgender people and female sex workers are permanently prohibited from donating blood. The guidelines consider them to be in the high-risk category for HIV/AIDS.

The plea argues that the exclusion based on gender identity and sexual orientation is discriminatory and unscientific. “All blood units that are collected from donors are tested for infectious diseases including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS,” stated the plea. Therefore, the exclusion on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation disregards their right to be treated equally as other donors.

The plea states that the guidelines should be based on actual and perceived risk and not based on gender identity and sexual orientation. It was pointed out that the transgender community faces difficulties during the pandemic as many transgender people were unable to receive blood from their transgender relatives due to the guideline.

On the basis of these grounds, the plea argues that the current health ministry guidelines violate Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution.