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What happened?

A PIL has been filed by the member of Transgender community challenging the ‘Guideline on Blood Donor Selection and Blood Donor Referral, 2017 which were issued by the National Blood Transfusion Council and the National Aids Control Organization .

CAUSE TITLE | Thangjam Santa Singh @ Santa Khurai v. Union of India & Ors. 2021

Plea challenges- the clauses 12 and 51 of the guidelines as these prohibit the transgender persons, gay men and female sex workers from donating blood as they are considered to be a high risk HIV/AIDS category.

Contentious point | It further states that barring such people from donating blood solely on the basis of their gender identities or sexual orientation is not only unreasonable but also unscientific.

The petitioners stated that guidelines must be based on an individualized system foe all donors instead of identities.

Prohibition amounts to discrimination

The petitioner contended that such prohibition amounts to discrimination under Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 15 (right against discrimination) of the Constitution, as it deems them less worthy of social participation and healthcare.

Article 14 provides- The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

Article 15 provides- The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.

Supreme Court has sought response from central government on petition challenging the guidelines related to bar on blood donation. It issued a notice on the petition to the Union Health Ministry, National Blood Transfusion Council and National AIDS Control Organization but has refused to grant an interim relief of stay the guidelines as the court found itself not to be an expert in scientific issues. The Bench said that these are medical matters and they donot understand it, so they cannot enter into such areas without understanding them.

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