In a commendable move, Indian railways and IRCTC has included “transgender/third gender” as a gender option alongside males and females in the Railway Ticket Reservation Forms (both online as well offline), in compliance with the judgment rendered by the Supreme Court of India in the case of NALSA v. Union of India.
The move comes in furtherance of a representation made by Delhi based Advocate Mr. Jamshed Ansari, who had earlier petitioned Delhi High Court demanding the same. Mr. Ansari had alleged violation of Article 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), by non-inclusion of “transgender/third gender” as a gender option in its reservation forms. He had further demanded special coaches and reserved seats for the transgender community in all trains, for their “care and protection”.
The Court had however, in February this year, dismissed the petition, leaving it open for the petitioner to approach the Railways by way of a representation.
Mr. Ansari had then approached the Railways in March, demanding such changes to be brought in the reservation forms. Acting on the representation, the option has now been included in the tickets.
NALSA v. Union of India
The Supreme Court had, in April 2014, directed the Centre and the State Governments to recognize transgender as the third sex, and to provide them with the benefits accorded to socially and economically backward classes. The Bench, comprising Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice A.K. Sikri had observed that the nonexistence of law recognizing transgender as the third gender could not be continued to be relied on as a ground to discriminate them in availing equal opportunities in education and employment.
The Apex Court had further opined that the Centre and the State Governments should develop social welfare schemes for the transgender community, and run public awareness campaigns to erase the social stigma attached to them, apart from considering carving out job reservations for them. You may read the LiveLaw article here.
You may read: Asserting the Human Dignity: The Judgment of the Supreme Court of India in NALSA Case by Dr. Lokendra Malik
Read the circular here.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.