Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said today that the Centre has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking clarity on issues arising out of a 2014 judgement pertaining to the rights and status of transgenders.
The matter, according to the minister is posted for hearing tomorrow.
“The apex court, in its April 2014 judgement, had said transgenders should be recognized as the third gender' but along with that it had also acknowledged their right to declare themselves either male or female. Now, this is creating some difficulty for those making their identity cards. So, we have filed a review petition in the court seeking clarity on this”, he said.
According to the minister, transgender persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have flagged issues about them being given the status of OBC, saying they are not able to access the benefits which they were entitled to as SCs and STs.
“We also wanted clarity on these issues and have sought the guidance of the apex court. Clarity on these will help in the better implementation of the directives”, he said.
The ministry is close to finalising the Draft Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2015, and will try to place the Bill in Parliament during the ongoing budget session of Parliament", said the minister
The draft Bill has a chapter that details offences which will be treated as atrocity and violence against transgender people. As per the draft Bill, the Union government will, by a notification, constitute a National Council for Transgender Persons to advise the central and state governments on the issues related to improving the quality of life of transgender persons.
The Supreme court judgment of April 2014 had paved the way for lakhs of transgender people to join the mainstream
Upholding their demand for equal treatment with males and females, the court had directed the Central and state governments to treat transgender people as "socially and educationally backward classes" and to give them reservation in educational institutions and for appointment in PSUs.
Significantly, the court also said that if a person surgically changes his or her sex, then the person is entitled to the changed sex and cannot be discriminated against, as widely happens.
"By recognising transgender as third gender, this court is not only upholding the rule of law but also advancing justice to the class, so far deprived of their legitimate natural and constitutional rights," said a bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and A.K. Sikri had said.
Authorities were directed to take steps to remove several problems faced by the community such as fear, shame, depression, and social stigma.