Civil Code ‘ignores’ LGBTI issues, fails to address 2007 SC verdict

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Aug 5, 2015-

The reviewed Civil and Criminal Code, currently in Parliament for deliberation, has failed to acknowledge the existence of sexual minorities, said leaders.

They argue that the draft code has failed to acknowledge the existence of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexual (LGBTI).

“Civil Code has completely ignored the issues of LGBTI simply by not mentioning them anywhere in the draft,” said Sashi Shrestha, president of Inter Party Alliance.

Once passed, the bill together with Criminal Code will replace the Muluki Ain. The new body of laws, organised into two codes, namely Criminal Code and a Civil Code, will modernise Nepal’s justice system.

 The concept of Criminal Code and Civil Code is to update the Muluki Ain with change in international laws, practices and also to incorporate the international convention the country has ratified.

The Civil Code has even failed to address the verdict of the Supreme Court in 2007 which had acknowledged the existence of homosexuals, ordered the government to amend all laws discriminatory to LGBTI community and form a committee to review provisions regarding same sex in other countries, argue lawyers.

“Civil Code has recognised two species of humans- male and female and all the provisions are addressed accordingly. Chapters related to name, individuals right, property, marriage mentions only male and female, which is against the verdict of the Supreme Court,” said Advocate Rabin Subedi.

 The proposed Civil Code implies that marriage can only happen between a male and female. It defines marriage as a sacred, social and legal bond.

In the chapter related to marriage, it is stated that marriage can only happen between a male and female. This provision excludes those who identify with the third gender category. Activists have suggested the words ‘male and female’ should be replaced with ‘persons’ in section 67, in order to legitimise all individuals’ right to marry.

LGBTI rights activists have also condemned the Criminal Code and claim that it attempts to recriminalise homosexuality.  “It has prohibited ‘unnatural sex’ stating that any person who commits such act can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to Rs 30,000. We have problems with use of the word ‘unnatural’,” said Badri Pun, a transgender man, adding that interpretation of unnatural is open and the fear is that it could ultimately be used to recriminalise homosexuality.

 

Published: 06-08-2015 08:12

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