SC seeks Centre's response on legal status for transgenders

The Supreme Court on Monday sought reply from the Centre, states and union territories on a plea seeking grant of legal status to transgenders.

On a social justice litigation filed by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), a bench headed by Justice K S Radhakrishnan issued notice to all the governments, asking them to file their responses within four weeks.

 The petition sought to end the social, political and cultural ostracisation of transgenders by granting them the status of a third and equal sex.

The fundamental rights guaranteed to every Indian citizen will inevitably include transgenders.

The rights accrued to others can not be denied to or taken away from the transgenders, just because they do not have a developed genital, the petition stated. “Every person has the right to decide their sex orientation and to espouse and determine their identity, including trans-sexuals, transgenders, transvestites and they are entitled to be considered as a third and equal sex. The Citizenship Act of India uses the expression ‘person’ without reference to sex. Transgenders, being citizens of India, ought to be entitled to vote and to contest elections as they are natural persons,” the petition said.

Seeking job reservation for transgenders in public and private sectors, either as a separate category or backward class, the petition stated that a National Working Committee be set up to look into the issues related to transgenders and decide welfare schemes for them.

NALSA also sought free sex re-assignment surgery for transgenders and laser treatment for their voice.The petition also demanded inclusion of transgender as a category in all forms, ration cards, driving licence and passport.

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