Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Thursday gave four weeks to state authorities to finalise a transgender policy and submit it before the court on the next date of hearing.
A division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe gave the directions after state counsel Asif Ahmad Bhat informed the court that objections to the transgender policy, which is being finalised by the Department of Social Welfare, were received from some petitioners and others. He said that the objections were being considered and the policy was at an advance stage of finalisation.
The court directed that the policy should be framed and placed before the court within four weeks.
It was further submitted by the state counsel that the Government of Jammu & Kashmir had no scheme for the benefit of transgender people. A citizen petitioner, who was present before the court today, said that the Government of Jammu & Kashmir had not bothered to make any scheme for the benefit of transgender people. The petitioner pointed out that several such schemes were in place in different parts of the country.
The court after hearing the petitioner directed the Commissioner, Social Welfare Department, to go through the schemes which are in place in different parts of the country for the benefit of transgender people. The court directed the commissioner to examine the workability of the said schemes in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
Meanwhile the court said that the petitioners shall be at liberty to make available copies of the schemes which are prevalent in different parts of the country, as well as those which are prevalent in other countries, to the Commissioner, Social Welfare Department, within one week from today.
“These documents shall also be considered by the Commissioner, Social Welfare Department, who shall place a report regarding the workability of the said schemes in the State before this court within a period of four weeks from today,” the court ordered.
The court directed state authorities to ensure that the transgender community does not face marginalisation.
On the previous hearing of this matter, the court had remarked that transgender people were a visible minority but were treated as invisible.
The court was hearing a public-interest litigation (PIL) that called for the government to acknowledge transgender people as a marginalised and vulnerable section of society, and to introduce reservations in government jobs and educational institutions for them. It also asked for a monthly welfare fund to be maintained for them, besides providing them adequate social security.