The Supreme Court on Monday lauded as ‘good petition’ a PIL that sought equal protection for transgenders against sexual crimes under the IPC in the absence of specific penal provisions and sought a response from the Centre.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde and comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian also asked Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, representing petitioner-advocate Reepak Kansal, to bring on record details of cases where orders have been passed by citing absence of laws to deal with such issues.
Singh submitted that he would file the details as sought by the top court.
The plea had referred to the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860 and recent amendments to the statue on sexual offences and claimed that they “do not provide any protection to the transgenders, transsexuals, ‘kinnars’ and eunuchs”.
The petitioner has made the Ministries of Law and Justice, Social Justice and Empowerment as parties. The plea has contended that despite the fact that the apex court has declared transgenders as ‘third gender’, yet law provisions have not been made for them.
“The Indian laws are for men and women and, therefore, considering transgenders neither men nor women, they generally cannot get justice from the authorities due to lack of law/Act. The third gender is deprived of many of the rights and privileges which other persons enjoy as citizens of this country,” said the plea.
The petitioner urged the apex court to issue direction to the Centre to make appropriate modification/interpretation of Sections/provisions of IPC dealing with sexual assault to include transgenders/transsexuals/kinnars and eunuchs in the definitions.
The petitioner argued that the State cannot discriminate against them on the ground of gender, in violation of Articles 14 to 16 and 21 of the Constitution.
“The legislature introduced a Bill in 2018 which also failed to deal with sexual offences against transgenders and give them equal protection… there is no legal protection to the transgenders in case of sexual offences against them.”
The petitioner argued that the human rights violation of transgenders due to denying registration of sexual assault cases by authorities is common in India, while discrimination on the same ground is unconstitutional.
“Statistics documenting transgender people’s experience of sexual violence indicate shockingly high levels of sexual abuse and assault. Some reports estimate that transgender survivors may experience sexual assault up to 66 per cent, often coupled with physical assault or abuse,” the plea said.