26 April 2023 1:23 PM GMT
The Gujarat High Court today issued notice on a public interest litigation seeking directions for construction of separate washrooms for the Transgender/Third Gender community.The matter was listed before the bench of Acting Chief Justice A.J.Desai and Justice Biren Vaishnav. Dr. Sneha Ashvinbhai Trivedi, a doctor and a psychotherapist by profession, has approached the high court in this...
The Gujarat High Court today issued notice on a public interest litigation seeking directions for construction of separate washrooms for the Transgender/Third Gender community.
The matter was listed before the bench of Acting Chief Justice A.J.Desai and Justice Biren Vaishnav. Dr. Sneha Ashvinbhai Trivedi, a doctor and a psychotherapist by profession, has approached the high court in this regard.
The Supreme Court in NALSA vs. Union of India had said that the Centre and State Government should take proper measures to provide medical care to transgenders in hospitals and also provide them separate public toilets and other facilities. The petition before the high court alleges that no action has been taken by the State in this regard.
“That this is a serious and concerning issue which the people of transgender community face in their daily life and even after several judgments and orders passed by Hon'ble Supreme Court of India and other high courts, no action has been taken in this regard,” the petition argues.
Contending that the absence of gender neutral toilets goes against the 2014 judgment of Supreme Court in NALSA vs. Union of India, the PIL argues that “every human being be it of any gender has some basic human rights one of which includes facilities for using separate public toilets…not having the facility to use a separate public washroom would violate Article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.”
Right to dignity has been recognised to be an essential part of right to life and accrues to all persons on account of being humans, argues the PIL.
The petition also states that members of the transgender community face sexual assault and harassment while using toilets designated for the male gender. It states, “Discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation or gender identity, therefore, impairs equality before law and equal protection of law which violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India. They don’t even have any remedy available for the same as there are no provisions in the IPC, 1860 that protects trangenders from sexual assault by any male, female or another transgender.”
While referring to Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the petition states, “The International Human Rights Instruments which are being followed by various countries in the world are aimed to protect the human rights of transgender people since it has been noticed that transgenders/transsexual often face serious human rights violation such as harassment in places of public convenience, railways, toilets, hospitals, theatres and so on.”
While referring to the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) Revised Guidelines which specifically mandate to make separate seats/toilets for the trans-gender community, the petition argues, “It is submitted that because the Central Government have released funds for the concerned issue but still no separate toilets are made for the Transgender/Third gender community in Gujarat.”
The petition also makes mention of a similar PIL pending before the Delhi High Court. The court in that case last month directed the Delhi government to ensure that public toilets for transgender persons are constructed in the national capital within eight weeks.
“That, out of 29 states in this country no state has separate public washrooms except for Mysore, Ludhiana and Bhopal for the third gender. The transgender community consists of 7-8% of the total population of this country which makes it very necessary for the authorities to provide same facilities and equal treatment to them in this regard. These TGs, even though insignificant in numbers, are still human beings and therefore they have every right to enjoy their human rights…Moreover, this Writ Petition is being filed as a result of negligence to implement Transgender (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019,” the petition before Gujarat High Court argues.
Case Title: Dr. Sneha Ashvinbhai Trivedi vs. Union of India WP(PIL) No. 45 of 2023.