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Gauhati High Court Seeks State Gov's Response On Health Welfare Measures Undertaken For Transgender Persons As Per 2019 Act

Aaratrika Bhaumik
12 Nov 2021 2:33 PM GMT
Gauhati High Court Seeks State Govs Response On Health Welfare Measures Undertaken For Transgender Persons As Per 2019 Act
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The Gauhati High Court on Thursday sought the State's response on its measures taken for the health and welfare of the transgender community. The Court was adjudicating upon a plea moved by by transgender activist Swati Bidhan Baruah, raising several issues faced by members of the said community in accessing health and medical facilities. The PIL had been filed in the year 2018,...

The Gauhati High Court on Thursday sought the State's response on its measures taken for the health and welfare of the transgender community. The Court was adjudicating upon a plea moved by by transgender activist Swati Bidhan Baruah, raising several issues faced by members of the said community in accessing health and medical facilities. The PIL had been filed in the year 2018, demanding inclusion of the transgender community as beneficiaries under Centre's Ayushmaan Bharat Scheme, which allows low-income families to subsidized avail health insurance.

On the last date of hearing, a Bench comprising Justice N. Kotiswar Singh and Justice Manish Choudhury had directed both Centre and the State government to inform the Court by way of filing affidavit as to the measures taken in terms of the provisions of Sections 13, 14 and 15 of Chapter VI of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 (Act). 

On Thursday, the Bench noted that the primary issue raised in the plea pertain to the health of the transgender community which is covered by Section 15 of the 2019 Act and accordingly directed that affidavits contain details of the measures undertaken or proposed to be taken in terms of Section 15 (measures in relation to transgender persons) of the 2019 Act. 

The Bench clarified that the State government would be the appropriate government for all measures mentioned except those that are implicitly or explicitly excluded from its purview. Reliance was also placed on Section Section 2 of the 2019 Act in this regard. 

The Court also pointed out that Section 8 of the Act that makes the appropriate government responsible for ensuring full and effective participation of transgender persons and their inclusion in society. 

"Section 8 also will be of relevance, which provides that the appropriate Government shall take steps to secure full and effective participation of transgender persons and their inclusion in society and the appropriate Government shall take such welfare measures as may be prescribed to protect the rights and interests of transgender persons, and facilitate their access to welfare schemes framed by that Government", the Court observed. 

It was further emphasised that if any health measures are undertaken, it was the government's responsibility to ensure that transgender persons are given benefit of similar facilities.

The Division Bench further cautioned the State that if the affidavits are not filed in due time, costs may be imposed. Accordingly, the matter was listed for further hearing on December 13.

Case Title: Swati Bidhan Baruah v. State of Assam

Click Here To Read/Download Order 


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