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COVID19: Plea In Karnataka HC Seeks Welfare Of Trans Persons & SC/ST Community During Lockdown

Sanya Talwar
7 April 2020 4:02 PM GMT
COVID19: Plea In Karnataka HC Seeks Welfare Of Trans Persons & SC/ST Community During Lockdown
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A plea seeking relief for trans persons & vulnerable communities in the lockdown has been filed in the Karnataka High Court.

Plea in the form of an Intervention Application has been filed by Centre for Law & Policy Research on behalf of Ondede & Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Centre for Study of Social Exclusion & Inclusive Policy, NLSIU in ongoing PIL's already being heard in the Karnataka High Court concerning the issue of the steps to be taken by various Authorities for dealing with the pandemic of Novel Corona Virus such as usage of excesses by the police, shutting of anganwadi's in the state of Karnataka & the consequences of non-supply of hot meals to pregnant women and lactating mothers, supply of food to the poor people, daily wage workers, people residing on the streets, railway platforms etc., large instances of hoarding of essential supplies and goods, among others.

Apropose this, inter alia, several reliefs have been sought for by the trans community such as free of cost rations, food and nutrition and provisions including vegetables and fruit to members of the transgender community from ration shops and also from other outlets, free LPG cylinders, waiver of electrivity bill for 6 months, Rs. 5000/- per month for six months to transgender persons as well as free access to medicines.

Several reliefs have also been sought for "most vulnerable groups" such as slum dwellers and manual scavengers "who are struggling without basic needs and amenities", such as directions to the state government in order to supply food and essentials to them and making provisions to get in touch with school teachers and ASHA workers to provide them with food and essentials.

On April 3, 2020, the bench had taken the intervention application on record.

In the aforementioned ongoing PILs, the bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay S. Oka & B.V. Nagarathna had on March 30, 2020 directed the State Government to ensure basic needs to citizens, especially those who do not have ration cards. 

Subsequently, on April 6, 2020, the State Government had filed detailed written submissions. It has pointed out that the slew of applications is "limiting" its effective functioning in this time of crisis.

"....the continuous and repeated applications being filed by the Applicants seeking various reliefs does actually limit in many ways the functioning of the Government in this time of crisis. The Government wishes to ensure that the rights of all parties, especially the marginalised sections of Society is duly protected. Unprecedented situation as it is, it is equally necessary that the State should have the freedom to determine the manner in which care is provided to all sections of Society. The State has an obligation to all sections and has to ensure that the protective umbrella extends to all. The State cannot be made subject, at this point in time, to a continuous review by citizens through applications filed before this Court." - The State of Karnataka has averred.

All batch petitions are listed on April 9, 2020 for further hearing.

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