File photo of transgenders in Srinagar.
Srinagar: Asserting the rights of transgender people as equal citizens, the J&K High Court on Thursday directed state authorities to provide them all facilities that citizens are entitled to. “They hold equal rights guaranteed under the Constitution,” the court said.
A division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjeev Kumar gave the directions after petitioner Aijaz Ahmed Bund informed the court that a transgender person on November 25 was lying under the open sky on God’s mercy in Srinagar. Bund said that with the intervention of police station Ram Munshi Bagh, the transgender person was hospitalised at SMHS but doctors there were reluctant to provide him necessary medical care.
The petitioner also stated before court that the administration of the hospital and the police unit there were constantly trying to force the transgender out, but with the help of Under Secretary to Government, Social Welfare Department, the transgender person was allowed to get treatment at the hospital.
Bund told the court that on the next day, the transgender person went missing from the hospital. Upon contacting the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), it was told that the person had left the hospital.
Bund stated that the transgender was not in stable health and as he was elderly, it was impossible for him to have moved out of the hospital on his own.
Bund stated that transgenders were a marginalised community and were in dire need of shelter homes, besides other required facilities. He pleaded that authorities be directed to find the missing transgender so that due care can be provided to him as soon as possible.
The court after hearing the petitioner directed Bund to move an application regarding the issue. The court recorded that submissions made by the petitioner highlighted the pitiable condition of transgenders and how they were treated.
“It cannot be denied that transgenders are facing extreme issues but they have every right to get protection and proper medical treatment,” the court said.
Meanwhile, 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 advanced stage of finalisation.
The court directed that the policy should be framed and placed before the court on the next date of hearing.
It was further submitted by the state counsel that the Government of Jammu & Kashmir had no scheme for the benefit of transgender people but there were some models which had been applied by other states in case of transgenders.
The court directed that such models and policies be looked at by state authorities for the benefit of transgenders.
The court on the previous hearing had directed state authorities to ensure that the transgender community does not face marginalisation.
The court was hearing 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.