The state government on Friday informed the Bombay high court that eunuchs could not be covered under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) Act.
Assistant government pleader GW Mattos pointed out that their (the eunuchs) case was one of general disability and could not fall under the SC/ST Act.
A city-based NGO working for the rights of eunuchs had filed a public interest litigation before the high court seeking that they be treated as humans with fundamental rights and also be given the right to vote by issuing them voter IDs.
The PIL was filed by Piyush Saxena of NGO 'Salvation of Oppressed Eunuchs' seeking the court's direction to ensure that the condition of eunuchs living as the oppressed section be ended by allowing them to exercise their fundamental rights on a par with others in the society.
The NGO had further sought that apart from seeking the right to create voter ID cards, the eunuch community should be given minority status and the law applicable to the communities such as the scheduled castes and tribes should also be extended to them.
The court asked the government on Friday to inform the petitioner as to which departments of the government could address the various issues raised in the petition within three weeks so that the petitioner could approach the department concerned with their representations.
The petition had further sought amendment of sections 375 and 377 of the Indian Penal Code to facilitate the inclusion of transsexuals and eunuchs in the definition of the term 'rape'.
"It is a crime against humanity when derogatory terms are used in respect of members of an underprivileged class," the petition states.
"Atrocities and crimes committed against eunuchs should be taken seriously and culprits punished. Even passing derogatory remarks should be punishable under the law," the petition states.