Ban On Conversion Therapy For the LGBTQIA+ Community


The National Medical Commission (NMC), the apex regulatory body of medical professionals in India, has written to all State Medical Councils, banning conversion therapy and calling it a “professional misconduct”.


GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is conversion therapy?
  2. Role of the Madras High Court in the ban
  3. Way forward

What is Conversion therapy?

  • Conversion or reparative therapy is an intervention aimed at changing the sexual orientation or gender identity of an individual with the use of either psychiatric treatment, drugs, exorcism and even violence, with the aim being to make the individual a heterosexual.
    • The conversion therapy umbrella also includes efforts to change the core identity of youth whose gender identity is incongruent with their sex anatomy.
    • Often, the therapy is offered by quacks with little expertise in dealing with the issue.
  • According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), the interventions under conversion therapy are provided under the false premise that homosexuality and diverse gender identities are pathological.
What are the risks involved?
  • According to AACAP and other health experts, conversion therapy poses the risk of causing or exacerbating mental health conditions, like anxiety, stress and drug use which sometimes even lead to suicide.

Role of the Madras High Court in the ban:

  • On June 7, 2021, Madras High Court gave a landmark ruling on a case he was hearing about the ordeal of a same-sex couple who sought police protection from their parents.
  • Pending adequate legislation more protective of the community, Justice issued a slew of interim guidelines for the police, activists, Union and State Social Welfare Ministries, and the National Medical Commission to “ensure their safety and security to lead a life chosen by them.”
  • The ruling prohibited any attempt to medically “cure” or change the sexual orientation of LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual or of any other orientation) people.
  • It urged the authorities to take action against “professionals involving themselves in any form or method of conversion therapy,” which could include the withdrawal of licence to practice medicine.
  • Recently, the court gave an order to the National Medical Commission directing it to “issue necessary official notification by enlisting ‘Conversion Therapy’ as a professional misconduct.”
Some of the other guidelines issued by the court
  • In its 2021 verdict, the Madras High Court directed the police, for example, to close complaints of missing persons’ cases, “without subjecting them to harassment”, if it found on investigation that the parties were consenting adults belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • The court asked the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment to draw up a list of NGOs and other groups which could handle the issues faced by the community, and gave it a time of eight weeks from the date of the order.
  • Recently, the court pulled up the Ministry for failing to compile a comprehensive list. The court said the community should be provided with legal assistance by the District Legal Services Authority in coordination with law enforcement agencies.
  • Asking agencies to follow the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020, and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, in letter and spirit, the court said it was imperative to hold sensitisation programmes for an all-out effort to understand the community and its needs.

Way forward

  • Schools and colleges must effect changes in curricula for a better understanding of the community.
    • As late as 2018, medical books listed homosexuality and lesbianism as a “perversion”.
  • People of a different sexual orientation or gender identity often narrate harrowing tales of bullying, discrimination, stigma and ostracisation.
  • Gender-neutral restrooms should be compulsory in educational institutes and other places.
  • Parents too need to be sensitised, because the first point of misunderstanding and abuse often begins at home, with teenagers being forced to opt for “conversion” therapies.
  • Health professionals point out that even adults opting for sex reassignment surgeries need to get proper guidance like therapy pre and post operation; for an ordinary citizen, the cost too can be prohibitive.

About Preventive Detention in India


Preventive detentions in 2021 saw a rise by over 23.7% compared with the year before, with over 1.1 lakh people being placed under preventive detention, according to statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).


GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional Provisions, Fundamental Rights), GS-II: Governance (Government Policies and Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Preventive Detention in India
  2. Criticisms of Preventive detention
  3. The argument in favour of Preventive detention
  4. Recent SC Judgement on Preventive Detention

About Preventive Detention in India

  • As the term suggests – Preventive detention helps to prevent a person from committing a crime.
  • Article 22 deals with 2 kinds of detentions:
    • Preventive
    • Punitive
  • Article 22 (3) (b) of the Constitution allows for preventive detention and restriction on personal liberty for reasons of state security and public order.
  • According to Article 22 (4)- in case of preventive detention as well, the person being detained should be informed of the grounds of arrest, however, in case the authorities consider that it is against the public interest to disclose certain facts, they need not reveal them.
  • The person cannot be detained under preventive detention for more than 3 months unless permission to do so has been granted by an advisory board consisting of 3 judges of the Supreme Court.
  • The other way by which the period of detention can be extended beyond 3 months is if the Parliament prescribes a law for it.
  • Acts by the Parliament which provide for extension of Preventive detention period beyond 3 months:
    • National Security Act (NSA) 1980;
    • Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA) 1974;
    • Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) 1967, etc.
  • Many State legislatures have enacted similar laws that authorize preventive detention.

Criticisms of Preventive detention

  • Preventive detention becomes a human rights concern as there have been various incidents of misuse of such laws in India.
  • Preventive detention represents the police power of the State.
  • No other democratic country mentions preventive detention in its constitution and such laws come into effect only under emergency conditions in democratic countries.

The argument in favour of Preventive detention

  • Arbitrary action the State is prevented in India as the areas in the context of which Preventive detention laws can be made are laid down in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution itself.
  • In the Union list – laws for Preventive detention can be enacted only for reasons connected with Defence, Foreign Affairs, or the Security of India.
  • In the Concurrent list – laws for Preventive detention can be enacted only for reasons connected with Security of a State, the Maintenance of Public Order, or the Maintenance of Essential Supplies and Services.

Recent SC Judgement on Preventive Detention

  • The SC said the State should not arbitrarily resort to “preventive detention” to deal with all and sundry “law and order” problems, which could be dealt with by the ordinary laws of the country.
  • Preventive detention is a necessary evil only to prevent public disorder. The court must ensure that the facts brought before it directly and inevitably lead to a harm, danger or alarm or feeling of insecurity among the general public or any section thereof at large.
  • Whenever an order under a preventive detention law is challenged, one of the questions the court must ask in deciding its legality is: was the ordinary law of the land sufficient to deal with the situation? If the answer is in the affirmative, the detention order will be illegal.
  • Preventive detention must fall within the four corners of Article 21 (due process of law) read with Article 22 (safeguards against arbitrary arrest and detention) and the statute in question.
  • Mere contravention of law, such as indulging in cheating or criminal breach of trust, certainly affects ‘law and order’, but before it can be said to affect ‘public order’, it must affect the community or the public at large

Sedition Law In India


As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports, Assam recorded the most number of Sedition cases in the country in the last eight years.


GS III: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are the Findings of the NCRB?
  2. What is Sedition?
  3. About Sedition law
  4. Criticism of Sedition

What are the Findings of the NCRB?

  • Out of 475 sedition cases registered in the country between 2014 and 2021, Assam accounted for 69 cases (14.52%).
  • After Assam, the most number of such cases were reported from Haryana (42 cases), followed by Jharkhand (40), Karnataka (38), Andhra Pradesh (32) and Jammu and Kashmir (29).
  • These six states accounted for 250 cases — more than half the number of total sedition cases recorded in the country — in the eight-year period.
  • 76 sedition cases were registered across the country in 2021, a marginal increase from the 73 registered in 2020.
  • States and UTs that did not register even one sedition case in that period were Meghalaya, Mizoram, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, and Puducherry.

What is Sedition?

  • Sedition, which falls under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, is defined as any action that brings or attempts to bring hatred or contempt towards the government of India and has been illegal in India since 1870.

Historical background of Sedition laws

  • Sedition as a concept comes from Elizabethan England, where if you criticised the king and were fomenting a rebellion, it was a crime against the state.
  • When they ruled India, the British feared Wahhabi rebellion. They brought the [sedition] law in, and it was used against our freedom fighters as well.
  • We must remember that both Mahatma Gandhi and [Bal Gangadhar] Tilak were tried under this law and sentenced.
  • Government didn’t remove it because every administrator has this thought that dissent is okay, but beyond a certain point it gets dangerous and an administration must have the means to control it.
  • Previously policemen were much more independent. But since Indian independence, the independence of the police has also been severely compromised. So, any local leader can almost bully a policeman into registering a case.

About Sedition law

  • The law was originally drafted by Thomas Macaulay. Since its introduction in 1870, meaning of the term, as well as its ambit, has changed significantly.
  • Sedition is a cognisable, non-compoundable, and non-bailable offence, under which sentencing can be between three years to imprisonment for life.

About Section 124A of Indian Penal Code (IPC)

  • The Indian Penal Code in Section 124A lays down the offence:
  • “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.”
  • A person charged under this law can’t apply for a government job. They have to live without their passport and must present themselves in the court as and when required.

Criticism of Sedition

  • Colonial Era law: It is a colonial relic and a preventive provision that should only be read as an emergency measure.
  • Right to Freedom of expression: Use of Section 124A by the government might go beyond the reasonable restrictions provided under fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression as per Article 19 of the Constitution.
  • Democratic foundation: Dissent and criticism of the government are essential ingredients of robust public debate in a vibrant democracy and therefore, should not be constructed as sedition. The sedition law is being misused as a tool to persecute political dissent.
  • Lower Conviction Rate: Though police are charging more people with sedition, few cases actually result in a conviction. Since 2016, only four sedition cases have seen a conviction in court which indicates that sedition as an offence has no solid legal grounding in India.
  • Vague provision of sedition laws: The terms used under Section 124A like ‘disaffection’ are vague and subject to different interpretation to the whims and fancies of the investigating officers.
  • Other legal measure for offences against the state: Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (1967), have provisions that penalize “disrupting the public order” or “overthrowing the government with violence and illegal means”. These are sufficient for protecting the national integrity. o Similarly, the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act is also there for offences against the state.
  • Perception of law: Globally, sedition is increasingly viewed as a draconian law and was revoked in the United Kingdom in 2010. In Australia, following the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) the term sedition was removed.

The Problem of Sedition being constitutional

  • The law of sedition was not struck down by the Supreme Court in 1962 as unconstitutional even though sedition, as defined in Section 124A of the IPC, clearly violates Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution which confers the Fundamental Right of freedom of speech and expression, the most valuable right of free citizens of a free country.
  • Further, this section does not get protection under Article 19(2) on the ground of reasonable restriction.
  • It may be mentioned in this context that sedition as a reasonable restriction, though included in the draft Article 19 was deleted when that Article was finally adopted by the Constituent Assembly. It clearly shows that the Constitution makers did not consider sedition as a reasonable restriction.
  • However, the Supreme Court was not swayed by the decision of the Constituent Assembly. It took advantage of the words ‘in the interest of public order’ used in Article 19(2) and held that the offence of sedition arises when seditious utterances can lead to disorder or violence.
  • This act of reading down Section 124A brought it clearly under Article 19(2) and saved the law of sedition. Otherwise, sedition would have had to be struck down as unconstitutional.

Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator Technology


Recently, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully tested the Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (IAD) technology that could aid cost-effective recovery of spent rocket stages and safely land payloads on other planets.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is IAD?
  2. Significance

What is IAD?

  • The IAD is designed, developed and successfully test-flown by ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).
  • The IAD was successfully test flown in Rohini-300 (RH300 Mk II) sounding rocket from Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station.
  • Rohini sounding rockets are routinely used for flight demonstration of new technologies being developed by ISRO as well as by scientists from India and abroad.
  • The IAD serves to decelerate an object plunging down through the atmosphere.
  • The IAD was initially folded and kept inside the payload bay of the rocket. At around 84 km altitude, the IAD was inflated and it descended through the atmosphere with the payload part of a sounding rocket.
  • The IAD has systematically reduced the velocity of the payload through aerodynamic drag and followed the predicted trajectory.
  • The force on an object that resists its motion through a fluid is called drag. When the fluid is a gas like air, it is called aerodynamic drag or air resistance.
  • The IAD has huge potential in a variety of space applications like recovery of spent stages of rocket, for landing payloads on to Mars or Venus and in making space habitat for human space flight missions.

Ladakh To Have India’s First Dark Sky Reserve


Recently, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Science and Technology, announced that by the end of 2022, India will establish the country’s first Dark Sky Reserve in the cold desert regions of Ladakh.

  • This facility will also promote astronomy-tourism


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is a Dark Sky Reserve?
  2. How does a site become a ‘Dark Sky Reserve’?
  3. Who is developing India’s first Dark Sky Reserve?
  4. Why was Ladakh chosen for the project?

What is a Dark Sky Reserve?

  • A Dark Sky Reserve is public or private land with a distinguished nocturnal environment and starry nights that has been developed responsibly to prevent light pollution.
  • According to the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA) website, these reserves “consist of a core area meeting minimum criteria for sky quality and natural darkness, and a peripheral area that supports dark sky preservation in the core.”
  • These reserves, it said, are formed through a “partnership of multiple land managers who have recognized the value of the natural nighttime environment through regulations and long-term planning”.

How does a site become a ‘Dark Sky Reserve’?

  • Individuals or groups can nominate a site for certification to the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA).
  • There are five designated categories, namely
    • International Dark Sky parks,
    • Communities,
    • Reserves,
    • Sanctuaries
    • Urban Night Sky Places.
  • The certification process is similar to that of a site being awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site tag or getting recognised as a Biosphere Reserve.
  • Between 2001 and January 2022, there have been 195 sites recognised as International Dark Sky Places globally.
  • The IDSA considers a piece of land suitable for dark sky place only,
    • If it is either publicly or privately owned;
    • Is accessible to the public partially or entirely during the year;
    • The land is legally protected for scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment purposes;
    • The core area of the land provides an exceptional dark sky resource relative to the communities and cities that surround it and the land offers prescribed night sky brightness either for a reserve, park or sanctuary.
  • India is still in the process of filing its nomination to IDSA.

Who is developing India’s first Dark Sky Reserve?

  • The Ladakh Union Territory administration is leading the efforts in establishing the country’s first Dark Sky Reserve.
  • To be situated at a height of 4,500 metres above sea level, the Hanle Dark Sky Reserve (HDSR) will come up within the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The Department of Science and Technology and experts from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru, are providing scientific and technological support in developing this first-of-its-kind facility.
  • The IIA already manages the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) complex at Hanle, Ladakh.
  • Here, scientists have been carrying out astronomical observations using the existing gamma ray, an infrared and an optical telescope to study exoplanets, galaxies and stars through the pristine skies of Hanle.

Why was Ladakh chosen for the project?

  • Ladakh is a unique cold desert located about 3,000 metres above sea level with high mountainous terrains. Long and harsh winters with minimum temperatures dropping to minus 40 degrees Celcius make large parts of the UT highly inhabitable.
  • This aridity, limited vegetation, high elevation and large areas with sparse populations – all make it the perfect setting for long-term astronomical observatories and dark sky places.
  • But the primary objective of the proposed Dark Sky Reserve is to promote astronomy tourism in a sustainable and environment-friendly manner.
  • Scientific methods will be used here to preserve the night sky from ever-increasing light pollution.
  • With metros, cities and peripheral areas experiencing light pollution and remaining constantly lit up, there are diminishing areas that offer a view of clear skies on cloudless nights, experts have noted.


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