A Division Bench of Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Soumitra Saikia was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by All Assam Transgender Association, a registered body of transgenders of Assam.
It was the case of the association that as per the law, a Transgender Welfare Board and a Transgender Cell have be established by the government in the State of Assam, but the same has not been done.
“This writ petition has been filed by All Assam Transgender Association, which is a registered body. As per the petitioner, under the law, a Transgender Welfare Board and a Transgender Cell are liable to be established in the State of Assam. All the same, this has not been done. Issue notice, returnable on February 18, 2022,” the Court ordered.
Government Advocate M Chetia accepted notice on behalf of the Government and was granted 3 weeks time to file reply.
Advocate Swati B Baruah appeared for the petitioner.
In the recently concluded winter session of the Parliament, a was raised by MP Chandra Prakash Joshi on the number of shelter homes being run in the country for transgender persons, to which Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment A Narayanaswamy mentioned that 12 pilot shelter homes (Garima Greh) for transgender persons have been initiated. These are located in the States of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.
Importantly, on April 12, 2021, the Supreme Court had issued notice in a PIL moved by Kinner Maa Eksamajik Sanstha Trust seeking direction to the Centre and state governments to establish a ‘Transgender Welfare Board’.
The plea had also sought a direction to appoint a standing committee comprising Station House Officers and human rights and social activists to investigate the reports of gross abuses against transgender people by the police.
It was argued in the plea that people should be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else.
On November 11, 2021, the Gauhati High Court itself had sought the State’s response on its measures taken for the health and welfare of the transgender community.
A Bench of Justices Malasri Nandi and N Kotiswar Singh directed that the affidavits must contain details of the measures undertaken or proposed to be taken in terms of Section 15 (measures in relation to transgender persons) of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.