SC recognises ‘third gender’, grants transgenders rights
Paving the way to bring the transgender in national mainstream, the apex court directed governments to take steps to remove problems faced by them such as fear, shame, social pressure, depression, and social stigma. The justices mentioned Articles 14, 15, 16, 19 and 21 of the Constitution to enshrine the rights to equality, employment opportunity, life and personal liberty to the transgenders.
‘Discrimination faced by this group in our society, is rather unimaginable and their rights have to be protected, irrespective of chromosomal sex, genitals, assigned birth sex, or implied gender role,’ it said.
‘We, therefore, declare Hijras, Eunuchs, apart from binary gender, be treated as third gender for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III of our Constitution and the laws made by the Parliament and the State Legislature,’ it said.
The PIL was filed by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) in September 2012 in Supreme Court seeking directions to grant equal rights and protection of transgender persons as well as ensuring equal access to basic public services. Two intervention applications were filed by Laxmi Narayan Tripathy, a transgender activist and Centre for Legal Aid and Rights, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working on issues relating to transgender persons. Anand Grover, who represented Tripathy, also represented Naz foundation in the petition against section 377 which criminalises homosexuality.