The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from Centre and others on a plea seeking directions to establish a transgenders welfare board to address their social welfare issues.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A. S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian agreed to examine the petition filed by a Mumbai-based organisation. The petitioner also sought appointment of a standing committee by Centre and states comprising SHO and human rights activist to promptly investigate reports of gross abuses by police of transgender persons. The plea argued that transgender people have suffered discrimination for ages in the matters of housing, health, education and employment. "Transgender people are deprived of social and cultural participation and thence they have restricted access to education, health care and public places, which further deprives them of the constitutional guarantee of equality before the law and equal protections laws", said the plea.
After a brief hearing in the matter, the bench said: "We are issuing notice."
During the hearing, advocate C R Jaya Sukin, representing the petitioner, said that it is a sensitive matter and the welfare board for transgenders should be established to address issues with their social welfare. The bench noted the matter is sensitive and there is a law now. The Parliament had passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019, which was enacted following the top court judgment, however the new law is "inadequate on several fronts", argued the petition.
Citing the 2011 Census, the plea contended that total population of transgenders is around 4.87 lakh with literacy rate of 57.06 per cent.
"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," said the plea.
The petitioner emphasised that the transgender community faces stigma and discrimination and they live in poor living conditions.