The National Medical Commission (NMC) has warned doctors against offering or prescribing conversion therapy to LGBTQIA+ youths.
Conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ youths will be deemed as "professional misconduct", the Commission warned, in a directive sent on August 25 to all medical councils, calling to take disciplinary action against practitioners offering such therapy, a Times of India report said.
Colloquially known as "gay cure therapy," conversion therapy has been banned in several countries for being "unscientific". But the practice of "converting" a person's sexual orientation or gender identity is still being carried out by some practitioners in India.
Earlier this year, in February, Dr Prasad Dandekar, a radiologist, had written to the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) about one of its members promoting conversion therapy online.
Dandekar, who is also the head of Health Professionals for Queer Indians (HPQI), an initiative that aims to sensitise healthcare professionals on the medical needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, was referring to one Dr Deepak Kelkar, an IPS member, who on social media had said homosexuality is a disease and can be cured by different methods, including conversion therapy. The video was subsequently taken down following a notice by the IPS; though no follow-up has been done on the issue, the report said.
"Now, no will be able to put up such posts as the NMC has equated offering conversion therapy with professional misconduct," Dandekar told TOI.
He said that now there is a framework to take action against such practitioners, which may even end with their medical license getting suspended.
"Medical societies are toothless bodies and can do little, but the NMC directive promises to disbar practitioners offering conversion therapy," he added.