The Patna High Court on Wednesday directed the Government to ensure that the persons belonging to the Transgender community are not deprived of food grains distributed under the social security schemes, solely for not possessing a ration card.
"All policies framed and instructions issued by the Government, be it Central or State, shall be implemented in letter and spirit and no member of the transgender community shall be deprived of his Ration only on account of such status or not possessing the Ration Card," the division bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar directed.
The order has come in a petition highlighting the pitiable state of affairs of the transgender in the state. Allegedly, the community is ostracized, more so in times of the current outbreak of Pandemic Corona Virus. The court had thus issued notices on the petition on May 1.
The Petitioner, Veera Yadav had informed the court that Transgender persons in Bihar were unable to access food because of the lack of ration cards. The plea sought immediate 25 kg ration support and cash assistance of Rs. 5000/- per month for at least a period of 6 months to the Transgender community in the state.
Government Advocate Ajay however apprised the court that the Government of Bihar had already taken a decision of distributing food grains to all who are otherwise eligible and entitled to, even if they do not possess the Ration Card.
He further assured the court that talks were being held with concerned authorities and that he was personally invested in the matter to ensure that the grievances raised in the petition are addressed.
Appreciating the "proactive" approach of Advocate Ajay, the bench observed, "no further orders are required to be passed in the application."
"It shall be open for the petitioner to invite attention of the authorities towards any further difficulty which any transgender may be facing in the State of Bihar and we are sure that Shri Ajay, learned Government Advocate, at his own level would be able to persuade the authorities, particularly when we find that, at this point in time, the Government of Bihar has taken adequate measures in meeting with the immediate requirements of the members of the transgender community residing in different parts of Bihar."
Notably, issues relating to online form for applying for ration card in Bihar through Right to Service Portal (RTPS) were also raised. The court was informed that the online application did not offer a choice to choose a gender other than male or female. Responding to this the Government intimated that the website is not functioning presently.
The court has made it incumbent upon the Government Counsel to ensure that the services reach transgender persons in Bihar.
The matter will now come up on June 22.
The High Courts of Karnataka, Jharkhand and Telangana have also ordered the Government to ensure that the Transgender community is provided adequate protection and benefits during the lockdown.
Recently, a petition was also filed in the Kerala High Court seeking protection of the community against discrimination in the grant of relief measures during the lockdown.
Case Title: Veera Yadav v. Govt. of Bihar & Ors.
Case No.: CWC No. 5627/2020
Quorum: Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar
Appearance: Advocates Shaswat and Akash Keshav (for Petitioner); Government Advocate Ajay (for State); ASG SD Sanjay and CGC Ratnesh Kumar Singh (for Union of India)
Click Here To Download Order