Plea in SC raises issue of discrimination against transgenders

A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre and others to establish a transgender welfare board to address their social welfare issues and also appoint a committee to promptly probe reports of their alleged gross abuse by the police.

The petition filed by a Mumbai-based organisation said that transgenders should be treated with the same dignity and respect as others, claiming they have suffered discrimination for ages and are deprived of social and cultural participation.

The plea has said that according to the 2011 Census, the total population of transgenders is around 4.87 lakh with literacy rate of 57.06 %.

“Transgender people are deprived of social and cultural participation and hence they have restricted access to education, health care and public places which further deprives them of the constitutional guarantee of equality before law and equal protection of law,” said the plea, drawn by advocate C.R. Jaya Sukin.

It has sought the apex court’s direction to the Centre and the states to appoint a standing committee comprising station house officers, human rights and social activists to promptly investigate reports of alleged gross abuse of transgenders by the police.

“Transgender people should be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else and be able to live and be respected, according to their gender identity. But transgender people often face serious discrimination and mistreatment at work, school, and in their families and communities,” the plea has claimed.

It said transgenders faces stigma and discrimination and get fewer opportunities as compared to others.

Referring to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019, the plea said Parliament had passed the bill to protect transgender rights but the new law is “inadequate on several fronts”.

The plea alleged that living conditions of transgenders are very poor and that majority of them are living in rented accommodations.

It said that as per a 2017 report of the National Human Rights Commission, 79 % of transgenders either live in rented rooms or share accommodations with others and 52.61 % have monthly income below ₹ 10,000.

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