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Madras high court directs Tamil Nadu govt to provide reservation for transgender

Aug 24, 2023 01:02 AM IST

The justice questioned how even after 76 years of India’s independence, myriad legislations, speeches, articles, documentations and policies, social injustice been washed away

Chennai: It is the right time for Tamil Nadu to initiate steps to provide reservations to transgender persons in the local body elections as a welfare measure to include them in a mainstream society and for their democratic participation, the Madras high court ordered on Wednesday.

The Madras high court ordered that Tamil Nadu to initiate steps to provide reservations to transgender persons in the local body elections as a welfare measure to include them in a mainstream society and for their democratic participation. (HT )
The Madras high court ordered that Tamil Nadu to initiate steps to provide reservations to transgender persons in the local body elections as a welfare measure to include them in a mainstream society and for their democratic participation. (HT )

“The Government of Tamil Nadu is directed to initiate all appropriate steps to grant reservations to transgender persons in the local body elections as an initial measure to bring the Transgender persons in the mainstream society,” justice SM Subramaniam said in his orders while disposing of a petition related to the discrimination of transgender persons in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district.

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The Justice also directed the Cuddalore district collector to remove the president and members of Nainarkuppam village panchayat by invoking the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, 1994 for passing a resolution in April for the district administration to revoke allotment of land for Transgender persons in the village.

The petitioner, president of the Nainarkuppam village panchayat in Cuddalore, along with the villagers had submitted that no patta shall be granted to the Transgender persons (transmen or transwomen) because it would result in “destruction of culture” in their village. The court on Wednesday rejected the relief sought.

“Social evil in any form is unconstitutional and the resolution passed by a Village Panchayat unanimously cannot be taken in a lighter manner,” the court observed. “This very society, which sees them as a bringer of good luck and seeks their blessings, also treat them with contempt. It is this contradictory presumption in the society, which is queer.”

The justice questioned how even after 76 years of India’s independence, myriad legislations, speeches, articles, documentations and policies, social injustice been washed away. The Government of India enacted the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, which bestowed rights and protection to the Transgender community in India.

Acknowledging that Tamil Nadu has been a forerunner in implementing welfare measures by bringing in legislations and policies to support the transgender community the court said that the message gets lost in the lengthy organisational structure of the executive.

“The bottom rung of the executive structure, who are in direct contact with the members of the Transgender community fail to implement these welfare schemes in letter and spirit,” the court said. “…As long as the majoritarian group of the society with select ideals keep stigmatising and ostracising a minority group purely based on gender, this will not only promote unhealthy social living conditions but also hamper the growth of our Great Nation.”

Observing that gender is a self identified factor, the court said that it is important to note that Transgenders have to be absorbed, employed and brought into the mainstream activities of the society and for that change in attitude towards them is essential. “Each and every human being have their own likes and dislikes, but when it comes to living in a society under the umbrella of togetherness, it is vital to accept the differences within us,” the court said. “Each and every living being is a gift. Gifts may be wrapped in various colours, designs and appearances and these gifts springs up with countless surprises. It is the same with each one of us. The level of mental and social pressures faced by such distinctive community of people can only be understood by an empathetic mind. They have been ostracised by this very society for centuries. This social ostracisation is the anti-thesis of humanity.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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