PIL: Why can’t gays, transgenders be blood donors?

3 months ago 4

NEW DELHI: The

Supreme Court

on Friday sought responses from the Centre,

National Blood Transfusion Council

(NBTC and National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) on a public intrest litigation (PIL) by a

queer activist

challenging the constitutional validity of a 2017 decision to preclude transgenders, gay and female sex workers from donating

blood

by categorising them in high risk group.
Petitioner Thangjam Santa Singh, known in

Manipur

as ‘Nupi Maanbi’ for being a transgender and queer activist, through senior advocate Jayna Kothari told a bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde, and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian that despite the apex court decriminalising the sexual preferences of LGBTQ community, the members continue to be ostracised by being bracketed in the ‘high-risk’ category and denied equal opportunity to donate blood.
SC issued notices to the Union health ministry, NBTC and NACO but refused to entertain Kothari’s request for a stay on the operation of the circular. The bench said, “these are issues to be decided by the medical experts. We will not pass any interim order without understanding the logic behind the decision.” The exclusion was ordered by terming them as high-risk category of people who could be afflicted with Hepatitis B/C and/or HIV/AIDS.
The 2017 circular said that blood donors should be free from any disease transmissible by blood transfusion, as far as can be determined by history and examination.

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