Plea in SC seeks ‘third, equal sex status’ for transgenders
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The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and all state governments on a petition by the National Legal Services Authority, which has asked for ending social, political and cultural ostracism of transgenders by granting them legal status of a "third and equal sex".
A Bench, led by Justice K S Radhakrishnan, issued notices following a brief hearing on a social justice litigation petition by NALSA and sought responses in four weeks.
The NALSA has asserted that fundamental rights guaranteed to every citizen would inevitably include transgenders and so these rights could not be denied or taken away because of their sex orientation or since they did not have a developed genital. Seeking a legal recognition for transgenders, the petition stated that considering them as a "legal non-entity" was violative of the Constitutional provisions and they were entitled to basic necessities of life, including nutrition, shelter, medical facilities, education, right to work.
"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...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," said the plea. Demanding equal protection and rights to transgenders as being made available to the male and female citizens, the plea requested the court to pass appropriate orders for the Centre and states to "include the category 'Transgender' as a third category in providing various opportunities or facilities, including election card, passport, driving licence, ration card, admission to institutions, medical treatment".
NALSA has sought reservations for transgenders in job opportunities in public and private sectors, either as a separate category or as being a backward class.
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