Address welfare issues of transgenders in 15 days, HC directs state govtUpdated: Jun 30, 2020 00:35 IST
The Bombay high court has directed the social justice and special assistance department, of Maharashtra government to decide on the representations made by an activist working for the upliftment of members of the transgender community, within a fortnight. The activist had approached the court through public interest litigation (PIL) seeking various reliefs and a welfare scheme for the community which has been suffering economically since the lockdown. The activist had claimed that due to the stigma, members of the community were not getting any assistance which the government has extended to farmers, small traders and migrants during the lockdown. The court then directed the activist to directly approach the concerned department.
A division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice MS Karnik while hearing the petition of Vikram Shinde, an activist through video conferencing was informed on Friday last week by advocate Aditi Saxena that the ever since the lockdown was imposed in light of the Covid 19 pandemic, the condition of the transgender community had become pathetic.
Saxena submitted that as most members of the community are sex workers or begged for a living, the lockdown norms took away their means of livelihood, in the form of social distancing. She further submitted that while the source of income dried up, the members were refused necessities like free ration, as they did not have a ration or Aadhar card. They were also refused basic healthcare and protective kits due to the stigma attached to them.
The petition said that while the community was marginalised due to the stigma, the lockdown made their condition worse as the government did not frame or announce any welfare scheme for the over 40,000 transgenders in the state. A couple of representations to the state in April and May had also gone unheeded, thus forcing them to approach the court, the petition said.
The petition sought provision of free housing and employment as community volunteers, free ration for six months, payment of ₹5,000 to each member for the same period and provision of Covid and non-Covid medical assistance and to establish separate quarantine centres for the transgender persons.
After perusing the petition, the bench said that it was disposing of the petition with the following directions, “The petitioner is granted liberty to file a comprehensive representation, incorporating all the concerns of the community he seeks to represent, within a week from date addressed to the principal secretary to the social justice and special assistance department, government of Maharashtra. Should the petitioner avail this liberty and submit the requisite representation, the principal secretary shall proceed to consider and dispose of the concerns expressed under the law and by passing an appropriate order within a further period of a fortnight.”