Transgender identifies as ‘Third Gender’: Remarkable Judgment by Supreme Court

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Transgenders in India being harassed and discriminated in the society for a long and this population has been omitted from social and ethnic life, they never participate in legislation and main decision making process. The main consequence was lack of legitimate respect of the gender status. For the first time in history of world the Supreme Court of India on April 2014 granted formal recognition to transgenders as a ‘third gender’.

The apex court, in its revolutionary verdict brought by Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and A. K. Sikri in a Public Interest Litigation filed by NALSA seeking the identification of ‘Transgender’ a third gender, endorse their rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The case was filed in 2012 by a set of petitioners including conspicuous Hijra and activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi strive for equivalent rights for the transgender population under the commandment. NALSA, represented by Sr. advocate Raju Ramachandran and AnithaShenoy, argued productively that TGs should have the right to precise their gender identity without obstruction, as like other two genders in the country. There are thousands of transgenders in India, but they are not officially accepted, they are cold-shouldered, discriminated against, ill-treated and habitually enforced into prostitution. The plea requested the Supreme Court to permit suitable guidelines towards TGs being recognized as ‘third gender’ group in making available of a number of amenities such as education , medical and identity details.

Finally, the Supreme Court acknowledged a ‘third gender’ that is neither male nor female in a landmark judgment that asks the government to validate that transgenders get job quotas and conveniences containing passport , Voter Id and driving license. The SC asked government to consider them as socially and educationally backward class, to aid them to get reserved seat in education and jobs. The government will also have to assign a convinced percentage of public sector jobs, seats in schools and colleges to third gender candidates. The Supreme Court said “Recognition of transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue”.

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Transgenders are also residents of India. The constitution should deliver alike prospect to every citizen to cultivate and achieve their dreams, nevertheless of caste, religious conviction or sexual category. The apex court also said States and the Centre will develop social welfare schemes for third gender civic and run a public awareness campaign to remove social disgrace. The states must build separate public urinals and branches to look into their special medical concerns. TGs does not identify with the gender specified on their birth certificate. Previously, they were compelled to write male or female beside their gender.

According to the SC section 377 of IPC is being exploited by forces and other establishments against TGs and their social and economic condition. The judgment specifically narrates cases of how Section 377 applies to the transgender community: “Then there is a reference to ‘Bangalore incident, 2004’ bringing out illustrations of custodial torture of LGBT persons. The victim of the torture was a eunuch from Bangalore, who was at a public place dressed in female clothing. The person was subjected to gang rape, forced to have oral and anal sex by a group of criminals.”

The bench clarified that its judgment refer to only hijras/eunuch and no other divisions of society like gay, lesbian and bisexuals who are also contemplated under the term ‘transgender’. Detest offences in the traditional country are common still few are reported partly owing to shortage of understanding by authorities. The apex court passed the order on a PIL filed by NALSA requesting the court to provide distinct identity to transgenders by recognizing them as third category of gender.

Appreciating the Supreme Court decision, Transgender rights activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi said the judgment was a great step towards ending such discrimination. “Justice Radhakrishnan and Justice A.K. Sikri said that any nation can progress only after it grants all the rights and human rights to its citizens. The transgenders have been given the biggest right,” said Tripathi. “Today I feel a proud citizen of India.”

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This is a great move on the part of Indian Judiciary to recognize their identity as a third gender, as such this class of people have been discriminated against for years and do need a push to grow to socio-economic and political significance as that of the other two genders. Being a human and a citizen of India TGs have inherent and legal right to live with dignity and such rights shall not be denied by anyone. They should also have the right to get equivalent status with other genders. The Apex Court delivered a notice to the Central government and the State governments to recognize TGs as third category in order to get all possible benefits conferred upon them. A noble move ahead!