The Supreme Court directed the Centre and the State Governments to recognise transgender as the third sex and also to provide the benefits of socially and economically backward class.The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice AK Sikri observed that the nonexistence of law recognizing transgender as third gender could not be continued as a ground to discriminate them in availing equal opportunities in education and employment.
Earlier, the Supreme Court on 29th October, 2013 had reserved its judgment on the question of recognition of identity of transgender persons in India. The Division Bench was hearing a public interest litigation, National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) v. Union of India &Ors. [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 400 of 2012] filed in October, 2012.
Further the Supreme Court also directed the Centre and the state governments to frame new schemes for the welfare of transgender community including reservations for education and employment purposes, health and medical facilities.
In this historic judgment the court also opined that the Centre and the state governments should develop social welfare schemes for third gender community and run a public awareness campaign to erase social stigma attached to the community,apart from considering reservation in jobs. The Supreme Court also added that if a person surgically changes his/her sex, then he or she is entitled to her changed sex and cannot be discriminated.
Terming the judgement as a socially progressive one, senior lawyer Colin Gonsalves said that it was a happy day for the transgender and the ones who have been fighting for their equality.
This is for the first time that the community received a formal legal recognition. Earlier, they were forced to write male or female against their gender.