Proposal to amend the Indian Penal Code to make the definition of rape `gender-neutral' was still under consideration, the Union Government told the Bombay High Court on Thursday.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation seeking protection of the fundamental rights of the eunuch and trangender community.
The current definition of rape (section 375 of IPC) only covers the cases where the victim is woman.
The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha, at the last hearing, had asked the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to state what steps it proposed to take in this regard.
The PIL has been filed by the NGO `Salvation of Oppressed Eunuchs'.
Advocate Som Sinha, union's lawyer, today sought two weeks' time to file an affidavit. "The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs on this issue of making the section 375 gender-neutral," Sinha said.
The judges granted time till December 5. The PIL demands that eunuchs across the country, who number about 19 lakh, should get voter identity cards, should be treated as a minority community, and get benefits and legal protection as such.
"The atrocities and crimes committed against eunuchs should be taken seriously and the culprits should be punished," the PIL states, adding that even passing derogatory remarks against them should be made a punishable offence.