The Uttarakhand High Court on Friday issued a slew of directions for welfare of transgender persons in the State.
Among other things, the Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari directed the State to formulate a scheme within six months to provide reservation in admission in educational institutions and for public appointments to transgenders.
The court was hearing petitions filed by two transgenders, Rano, and Rajni Rawat Kinnar, who had sought protection of their lives and liberty. As per the court order, they had alleged that “private respondents are interfering in their area of operation”.
While directing protection for them, the court took judicial notice of the difficulties generally faced by the transgender population in the country. It also took note of the Supreme Court judgment in the case of National Legal Services Authority vs. Union of India, (2014) 5 SCC 438, wherein the court had directed the Central and State Governments to recognize transgender as the third gender, and also to provide them with the benefits of socially and economically backward class.
The court then lamented the fact that no such positive steps have been taken by the government so far, observing, “No reservation has been provided for public employment and in educational institutions. No proper measures have been provided for medical care to transgenders. No social welfare schemes have been framed for the betterment of the transgenders.”
It further noted that transgenders are separated from their families at a young age, and directed, “No transgender persons should be separated from his/her parents or family immediately on the ground of being transgender. Every transgender has a right to live in a house with his/her parents. The State Government is required to frame social welfare schemes and programmes for transgenders.”
Lauding the initiative taken by the State of Odisha in framing a scheme for promotion of transgender equality and justice, the bench then issued the following directions:
Necessary protection to the petitioners
The Senior Superintendent of Police, Dehradun is directed to provide necessary protection to the petitioners in both the petitions.
Reservation in admissions and public appointments
We direct the State Government to provide reservation in admission in educational institutions and for public appointments to the transgenders by framing a scheme within a period of six months from today.
Formulation of social welfare schemes and programmes
The State Government is directed to frame various social welfare schemes/programmes for the betterment of transgenders within a period of six months from today.
The State Government is also directed to create public awareness to enable transgenders to come into the main stream and also to take measures to regain their respect and place in the society.
The State Government is also directed to frame a scheme of housing for transgenders by giving suitable accommodation to them within six months from today.
Scholarships upto post-graduate level
The State Government is also directed to provide financial assistance to the parents of transgenders and also to give scholarship to transgenders upto post-graduate level in order to assimilate them in the main stream.
Constitution of the welfare board
The State Government is directed to constitute a welfare board for the upliftment of transgenders in the State of Uttarakhand, within a period of six months from today. The representation shall be given to transgenders in the board.
Free medical access
The State Government is also directed to provide free medical access to transgenders in all the hospitals.
Free access to public institutions etc.
We also direct that transgenders shall have free access to public institutions, public places, playgrounds, roads including educational institutions, malls, marketplaces, hospitals, hotels, restaurants etc.
Separate public toilets
The respondent-State is also directed to provide separate toilets to transgenders in every public utility buildings including hospitals, bus stations, railway stations etc. within a period of six months from today.
Policy to ensure non-separation of transgenders from family
We direct the State Government to ensure that no transgender is separated from the parents and family and we also suggest the State Government to frame law/scheme to ensure that no transgender is separated from the parents/guardians and family within a period of three months from today.
Criminal cases against those who separate them from families
Criminal cases shall be registered against the persons who forcibly remove transgender from their parents/guardians and family.
Registration of all transgenders in the State
All the transgenders in the State of Uttarakhand are ordered to be registered by the District Magistrates to recognize them as such.
There shall not be any discrimination to transgenders qua employment or occupation. They should not be treated unfairly. They have absolute right, as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India to maintain privacy and to live with dignity.
Read the Judgment Here