Zee Media Bureau/Biplob Ghosal
New Delhi: In a significant judgement, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted recognition to transgenders as third category of sex and said that they have equal rights to social acceptability.
While delivering its order, the apex court expressed concern over discrimination and harassment of transgenders in the country and asked the government to take remedial measures.
Terming the transgenders as socially backward community, the SC bench comprising of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice AK Sikri directed the governments both at Centre and state level to provide medical and education facilities and introduce welfare schemes for the transgenders.
The SC bench said that the transgenders are citizens of the country and have equal rights to education, employment and social acceptability.
Reacting to the development, Shaila Jaan, a transgender, told IANS, "The judgment is good in terms of recognising us as the third gender, but the discrimination will continue in (the society)."
Earlier, the SC on 29th October, 2013 had reserved its judgment on the question of recognition of identity of transgender persons in India.
The top court`s order comes on a petition seeking several directions from the court, including granting of equal rights and protection to transgender persons; inclusion of a third category in recording one’s sex/gender in identity documents like the election card, passport, driving license and ration card; and for admission in educational institutions, hospitals, access to toilets, amongst others.
The plea also sought direction for equal protection and rights to transgenders as was available to male and female citizens.
The Division Bench was hearing a public interest litigation, National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) v. Union of India & Ors. [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 400 of 2012] filed in October, 2012.