‘Give legal aid to sex workers, homosexuals’

    By IANS,

    Hyderabad: The legal fraternity here Saturday underlined the need for the legal aid authorities to extend the assistance to marginal communities like sex workers, homosexual and transgender people.

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    Speakers at a seminar on ‘Strengthening legal aid and education for marginal communities and most-at-risk of HIV/AIDs’ expressed commitment to extend legal assistance to the marginal communities to help them address multiple violations of their rights by the state and non-state actors

    Justice P. Sathasivam of the Supreme Court of India, who is also the executive chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), said because of social stigma sex workers, homosexual and transgender people were devoid of all human rights.

    “We must remember that their well-being suffers greatly by the attitudes of intolerance and hatred directed towards them than their socio-economic status,” he said.

    He advised judicial officers to be more sensitive towards these marginal groups and offer them free legal.

    The seminar organised by the NALSA, in coordination with the Andhra Pradesh State Legal Services Authority (APSLSA), was attended by delegates from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

    Asha Menon, member secretary, NALSA, said the authority had also filed a social justice litigation in the Supreme Court to help transgenders assert their rights.

    Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta, who is also the patron-in-chief of the APSLSA, called upon the legal service machinery and volunteers to personally visit red light areas to extend legal assistance to sex workers.

    Justice N.V. Ramana, executive chairman, APSLSA, stressed the need to adopt all possible mechanisms like sensitisation and empowerment of stakeholders and involvement of media to address social inclusion of sex workers and transgender groups