Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday asked government to respond to a petition by transgenders, seeking reservations in educational institutions and government jobs in the state.
Hearing the Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey sought an affidavit from Chief Secretary and Director Social Welfare Department within three weeks.
In the PIL, the transgenders have sought protection of their constitutional rights and have sought directions to the state government to implement Supreme Court’s judgment (National Legal Services Authority Vs Union of India) in letter and spirit.
The Supreme Court has already clarified that only the transgender community would qualify as the “third gender”.
On 15 April 2014, a division bench of justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and A.K. Sikri granted legal recognition to transgenders or eunuchs as “third gender” and directed the government of India and states to treat them as socially and educationally backward classes for the purposes of quotas in admission to educational institutions and public appointments.
In September 2014, the GoI had sought a clarification from the court on whether lesbians, gays and bisexuals qualify as “third gender”.
The apex court had said: “recognition of transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue. Transgenders are also citizens of India. The spirit of the Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender.”
The transgenders also submitted that the state government was obliged to fulfil their requirements and alleged that it has, till date, failed to provide any concrete relief to them.
They have also sought directions to the government for determining the exact number of transgenders in the state as well as a guaranteed quality life in terms of political, social and economic standards so that none of them was subjected to any form of discrimination, injustice or violence.
“The government should acknowledge the transgenders of Jammu and Kashmir as a marginalized and vulnerable section and therefore introduce reservations in educational institutions and government jobs for them.”