Court notice to Centre, States on transgender issue

October 02, 2012 01:48 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:14 pm IST - New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre and Chief Secretaries of all States on a petition from the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), asking for a direction to include the category of transgender people as a third category in providing various opportunities and facilities such as the voter ID card, passport, driving licence, ration card and admission to educational institutions.

A Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra issued the notice after hearing senior counsel L. Nageswara Rao, appearing for NALSA, seeking a series of directions for the benefit of transgender people.

The NALSA petition said Article 21 of the Constitution provided fundamental right to life and personal liberty that could not be denied to transgender people. “Right to life includes right to live with human dignity and transgenders are entitled to bare necessities in life such as food, nutrition, clothes, shelter, medical facilities, right to education and to adopt children, and marry.”

It said, “Every citizen has the right to decide their sex orientation and to espouse and determine their identity including transsexuals, transgenders, transvestites and they are entitled to be considered as 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.”

Explaining the difficulties faced by such people, it said: “Many hospitals and other institutions do not admit them in women’s ward because women do not feel comfortable or free in their presence and in men’s ward they face sexual abuse. Provision of separate wards in all hospitals and other institutions is necessary.”

The NALSA said: “Various manifestations of deprivation are the consequence of the practice of recognising only two sexes-or-genders for various facilities, amenities and privileges; that is male and female. There is an urgent need for recognising the third gender that is transgender.

Treating a transgender as a legal nonentity was a violation of Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution and it was arbitrary and discriminatory, NALSA noted and sought a direction to the Centre and States to recognise them as a third category for the purpose of conferring various benefits.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.