The city authorities informed the Delhi High Court on Monday that over 100 toilets have been built for exclusive use by transgender people in the Capital.
“A total of 102 such toilets have been built and 194 more are under construction,” counsel for the Delhi Social Welfare Department told a Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula. Efforts are being made and further action will be taken expeditiously, the counsel added.
During the hearing, counsel for the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) informed the court that 12 toilets for transgender people are operational in the area under its jurisdiction and tenders for the construction of 79 more have been awarded.
The High Court was hearing a petition filed by Jasmine Kaur Chhabra seeking a direction for constructing separate washrooms for the third gender on the ground that their absence makes the transgender population prone to sexual assault and harassment.
Her petition said it was not fundamentally or morally correct to ask anyone of a specific gender to use a public toilet which is made for any other gender.
The plea said that the Supreme Court, in its 2014 judgment ‘National State Legal Authority vs. Union of India’, recognised the third gender, which consists of transgenders. “[The] Centre and State governments should take proper measures to provide medical care to transgenders in hospitals and also provide them with separate public toilets and other facilities,” the top court had said.
Observing that “substantial progress” has been made by the authorities, the High Court said it will pass an order on the petition.
On March 14, the court had warned that in case of non-compliance of its direction on construction of public toilets for transgenders, it will order personal appearance of city officials. It had noted, citing the status report filed by the city government, that while the process of construction of such toilets was stated to be under way, none were complete.