Conversion Therapy is something like a scientific therapy that focuses on curing or correcting homosexuals to heterosexuals and this therapy causes more amount of pain not only physically but also mentally.  Because of this therapy, there are severe repercussions as it involves heinous methods like curative or homophobic rape, assault, and suppression of food. This therapy is considered illegal in most of the other countries and India is trying to ban conversion therapy whereas the state of Tamil Nadu took the initiative in banning it. This creates a lot of mental trauma like depression, committing suicide and self-harm, etc., to those individuals who undergo this therapy in the name of spiritual intervention.[1]


Basically, Conversion therapy was started by the British through psychiatric methods where they considered that being homosexual is immoral. For avoiding homosexuality they developed a technique called the aversion technique. Conversion therapy took its birth from the aversion technique where the patient has to undergo a different or an undesirable pattern-making that particular person associates with an undesirable stimulus. These aversion techniques are generally used in quitting alcoholism and later they were started using during 1970s [2] and most all the medical professionals who performed this therapy stated that the results in certain cases turned out to be positive for escaping the liability.

After 1970’s the conversion therapy got widely practiced and because of the problems attached to this therapy, many people raised objections to this therapy. This concept was hugely criticized after the death of Anjana Harish in the year 2018 and recently in Sushma v. Commissioner of Police due to the consequences attached to the Conversion Therapy.

What is meant by Aversion Therapy?

In Aversion Therapy, there is a procedure in which general anesthesia would be given to the patients where the small electric currents passed through the brain (electro-conclusive therapy) as it is mainly known as behavioral therapy to remove fear towards the opposite sex. The materials like photographs, perfumes, etc., would be used through undesirable stimuli.[3]

Though it is very much harmful to the lives of patients, it’s still practiced by most medical professionals, cosmic healers in the name of spirituality. Even the Section-377 of IPC was de-criminalized, most of the parents and different individuals cannot accept the fact of being homosexual and it has to be changed. Because of non-acceptance from parents, the LGBT community is suffering mentally and physically due to Conversion Therapy. In India, during this conversion therapy, the patients would be exposed to pornographic images of same-sex where they would be treated with electric shock it was associated with the memories of pain. And later they would be replaced with the heterosexual images by reducing the electric shock and it would be done till it gets stopped completely.


Conversion Therapy was extracted from the aversion theory where this therapy was considered by most medical professionals as immoral and unethical. This therapy was introduced in the myth that homosexuality is immoral and they wanted to make it moral by using certain techniques.

At first, the doctors who perform this conversion theory would fall under civil liability and in the case of Lakshman Balkrishna Joshi v. Trimbak Bapu Godbole and Anr[4], Supreme Court held that the doctors can choose whether they should take up or not. As the therapy was not completely banned in our country some of the doctors choose to treat patients on conversion therapy which has to be avoided and there is a need for a ban on doctors too to take up the cases of conversion therapy.

Civil liability can only provide monitory compensation in the form of damages and it’s not sufficient to completely eradicate the concept of conversion therapy. There is a need to establish the criminal liability on these doctors who performs this therapy and for maintaining criminal liability there are 2 possibilities. Firstly invoking section-319 of IPC[5] talking about hurt and secondly criminal liability for medical negligence under section-304A IPC[6]. But because of the features of negligence attributed in Jacob Mathew case[7], it provides the opportunity for the medical professionals to escape the liability because the negligence must be grave.

There is an utmost necessity for the presence of separate provisions relating to conversion therapy because if the LGBT community wants to get some benefit then they have to invoke the Mental Health Act as the scope was only restricted to it and Conversion Therapy is also violating the Article-21 of the Indian Constitution.[8]


  1. Anjana Hareesh Case:

The Anjana Hareesh case highlighted the atrocities of conversion therapy but the concept of conversion theory is still prevailing in India. In this case, Anjana being a 21-year-old student committed suicide when her parents were forcing her to take up conversion therapy as she was a bisexual. The exact reason for her death is unknown in the Facebook video which was posted by her shows that her parents forced her into conversion therapy. She is one of the victims of conversion therapy where this was not taken as seriously by the Government though it involves more cruelty. It was stated that therapy leads to many mental health issues like depression and suicide etc., which may be the reason for her death.

As the physical and mental health of each and every individual belonging to the LGBT community going through conversion therapy is at stake and has to be considered seriously. The people from the LGBT community are suffering a lot because of not having any stringent laws.

  • Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India[9]

In this case, the conversion therapy was considered a violation of the fundamental rights of the Indian Constitution, The Naz foundation case was upheld by the Supreme Court where the court stated that sex isn’t confined to biological attributes but also includes sexual character and orientation.

  • Nalsa v Union of India[10]

In this case, the Yogyakarta principles were referred by the Supreme Court where it was stated that no person would be forced to undergo any kind of medical or psychological treatment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Sushma v. Commissioner of Police[11]

In this case, a lesbian couple went away from their homes after their parents intimidated them based on their relationship, and the families of those respective individuals filed a missing report, the couple approached the court for protection from police and also from the harassment of family.

In order to protect the dignity and life mentioned under Article-21 of the Indian Constitution, the High Court ordered the ban on conversion therapy where this therapy mainly concentrates on converting homosexuals to heterosexuals.


Conversion Therapy is a dangerous therapy where there is neither efficiency nor evidence of curing homosexuals to heterosexuals. When there is no efficiency on the part of the conversion therapy then what is the necessity of invoking this therapy to cure the LGBT community??? Aversion therapy was used by most medical professionals where it contains the most inhuman treatment and it affects the individuals physically and mentally. Most of all other countries banned the usage of this therapy based on the consequences and in India, Tamil Nadu is the first state which took a step in banning conversion therapy.

Though it is considered an immoral thing it was not taken seriously in considering conversion therapy as an offense. When this is not considered as an offense then it provides an opportunity for most of the medical professionals to escape from the liability by stating that the negligence is not so gross to be considered as a medical negligence case. Because the medical professionals knew the consequences attached to it and they are still treating the patients which is not acceptable at all.

The relief which can be obtained by the LGBT community is through the Mental Health Act, 2017 and I think this cannot be considered as a mental disorder always as it also affects physically. India should criminalize conversion therapy because of the seriousness, gravity involved in it.

There is a need for a separate provision regarding Conversion therapy and also there should be a certain procedure or set of rules for imposing criminal liability on the medical professionals who perform conversion therapy.

[1] Shashi Tharoor & Aditya Sharma, Baseless and barbaric: India must outlaw conversion therapy, The Indian Express, (Jun. 10, 2021),

[2] S.A Shrikhande & P.S. Gopinath, Case of Transvestism treated with Faradic Aversion Therapy, 2 Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine 25,26 (1979).

[3] Aritra Chatterjee & Tilottama Mukherjee, On conversion talk in Indian Clinical contexts: A pilot venture, Journal of Psychosexual health (Oct.1, 2021),

[4] 1969 AIR 128

[5] Indian Penal Code, 1860, No. 45, S.319.

[6] Indian Penal Code, 1860, No.4, S.304A.

[7] Jacob Mathew v. State of Punjab & Anr, Appeal (crl.)  144-145 of 2004

[8] Winy Daigavane & Anubhav Das, An analysis of conversion therapy in India: The need to outlaw and the allied socio-cultural concerns, The London School of Economics and Political Science, (Last Visited Jan 4. 2021).

[9] WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.  572  OF  2016

[10]  WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.400 OF 2012

[11] W.P.No.7284  of  2021


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