Srinagar: The J&K High Court Wednesday rapped state authorities for failing to submit draft policy regarding transgender rights before it.
The court observed that four months have passed since it had asked for the finalized draft of policy providing constitutional rights to the transgenders in the state.
Hearing the PIL on transgenders, the Division Bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur directed the Law Department to positively respond to the policy and also directed to Social Welfare Department to finalize the policy thereafter. The court said, “By next date positively, the draft policy should be submitted before court. This is final chance to authorities, otherwise constrained measures will be taken against them.”
Court recorded that before proceeding against Commissioner Secretaries of Law as well as Social Welfare Department, they are given one more chance to finalize the policy and in default they both shall remain present before the court on next date.
The direction came during the hearing of a PIL seeking shelters and reservations for transgenders, after the state counsel representing Social Welfare Department submitted before the court that that the policy has been submitted to Law Department and it is the Law Department who has to give final call in the matter.
Meanwhile petitioner Aijaz Ahmed Bund on previous hearing had pleaded before the court that the draft policy framed was not consistent with the directions passed by Supreme Court.
He had said that as per the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in a petition titled National Legal Services Authority Vs union of India, the transgenders have sought court directions to the government for implementation of the said judgment in J&K with a plea that clear directions of the apex court with respect to rights of transgenders be implemented. “However, the state has been unable to make headway in this direction,” he had said.
The PIL filed in 2017 states that the government must acknowledge transgenders as marginalised and vulnerable section of society and introduce reservations in government jobs and educational institutions. It also sought monthly welfare fund for them.
“The social and economic problems faced by transgenders are known to everyone and the way they are being left out by the families and the society at large is a narrative which needs to be changed. The primary aspect is that we are all human beings and they deserve the same rights as anyone else,” said one of the petitioners.
The petitioners sought construction of shelter homes for the transgenders as most of them are disowned by their families. They also pleaded for counselling centres besides welfare boards and police stations for the transgender community for building strong civil society support to curb harassment against them.