‘Proposal to include them under Special Adoption Act '
To safeguard the fundamental rights of transgenders and also to give them legal help, the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) has set up a toll-free helpline. It was formally launched by Supreme Court judge Altamas Kabir on Sunday.
Transgenders can dial 1800-425-90900 for redressal of their problems. The round-the- clock-facility will be manned by four advocates .
Inaugurating a regional workshop here on ‘Transgenders and law' organised by the KSLSA and Karnataka High Court Legal Services Committee, Mr. Kabir said it was important to understand the challenges faced by transgenders.
“Although the Constitution has banned discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste and gender, a majority of them are deprived of their fundamental rights. This is unfortunate,” said the judge, who is also the Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA).
He said that the NLSA would study the KSLSA's recommendation for a Special Adoption Act for transgenders. “We are discussing the issue with various like-minded institutions and organisations after which we will forward a recommendation to the Government,” he said.
Pointing out that the Madras High Court had set up a board to study the problems faced by the sexuality minorities, Mr. Kabir said such a system should be adopted in all States.
Acting Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Vikramajit Sen stressed the need for treating transgenders on equal terms with others.
Manjula Chellur, Karnataka High Court Judge and Executive Chairperson, KSLSA, said discrimination and exploitation of transgenders, along with lack of employment options, were the most important issues that needed to be tackled.
Besides the denial of voting rights, they faced problems in the inheritance of properties and were treated like outcastes by society in general as well as their own families.
“That is why the KSLSA has brought together transgenders, psychiatrists, psychologists, legal experts and other people concerned on a single platform. Efforts are being made to understand the social, medical, emotional and legal issues and challenges faced by the community so that appropriate recommendations for redressal can be made to the Government,” she added.