PIL Seeking Reservation In Public Employments For Transgender Persons filed in Bombay HC

The petitioners- NGO Sampada Grameen Mahila Sanstha and Community Based Organisation Muskan Sanstha, along with transpersons Vinayak Kashid (29) and Arya (22) have filed the PIL recently before the Bombay High Court. The PIL read, “The State of Maharashtra has failed to fulfill its Constitutional obligation under Article 14 and Article 21 towards the members of the Transgender community in Maharashtra.”

In the PIL they have basically questioned the non-implementation of the Supreme Court’s directions in the 2014 landmark judgment in NALSA vs UOI. In this case members of the transgender community were recognized as the “third gender” and were extended Fundamental Rights guaranteed to every person under Part III of the Constitution of India.

The Supreme Court further held that public awareness programs were required to tackle the stigma against the transgender community. It also directed the Central and State Governments to take several steps for the advancement of the transgender community, including:

1. Making provisions for legal recognition of “third gender” in all documents.
2. Recognising third gender persons as a “socially and educationally backward class of citizens”, entitled to reservations in educational institutions and public employment.
3. Taking steps to frame social welfare schemes for the community.

The Supreme Court judgment mandated the inclusion of transgender persons in public sector employment under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes of Citizens(SEBC) as being their fundamental right under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution.

Therefore plea under the PIL adds that non-compliance by the State violates Article 14, as it is the duty of the State to take affirmative action to create a level playing field for all oppressed and marginalized classes as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in M. Nagaraj v. Union of India.

After brief arguments by the petitioners, the division bench led by Justice AA Sayed directed the respondents to file their replies within two weeks and listed the case for hearing after 4 weeks. The bench also directed the petitioners to add the Transgender Welfare Board of Maharashtra as a party to the PIL.

Blog By: Shimona Singh Kulhara

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