The Supreme Court bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) that wants transgender people to be declared citizens with a third category of gender so that they could apply for election cards, passports, driving licence, ration card, admission to educational institutions, medical treatment, hospitalization and toilet facilities, reports Hindustan Times. NALSA wants equal protection and rights under the law for transgender people, just like those guaranteed to either male or female genders. The PIL has also sought reservation for transgenders in educational institutions and job opportunities in public and private sectors.
“Transgenders have remained untouchables with restricted access to facilities like education and much is needed to be done for them,” said a bench of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice AK Sikri, as reported by Hindustan Times. “They are not even admitted in schools and other educational institutions. Much remains to be done for them,” the bench added.
Amitava Sarkar, a transgender activist from Kolkata, welcomed the move and pointed out the problems faced at various levels. “All transgenders who don’t follow gender norms have to face discrimination everywhere, starting from the family. They aren’t able to avail any kind of service, be it medical or educational, because the only option available is M/F.”