Blog

What do the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020 say?

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has been in a hurry to implement the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 (the Act). Despite widespread protests, the Act was passed on 5th December 2019. Several petitions have been filed challenging the constitutional validity of the on the Act. Since then the Ministry has tried to operationalize the Act through the publication of the Rules. After releasing the draft rules in April 2020 and in August 2020; finally, on 25th September 2020, the Ministry notified the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules 2020 (the Rules). The Rules seem to have tried to bridge the vast gap between the Act and the directions of the Supreme Court in NALSA v. Union of India.  

News & Media

Karnataka HC Seeks Govt Response On Plea Seeking Horizontal Reservation For Transgenders Instead Of OBC Reservation

Live Law reported on the High Court of Karnataka’s order where the Court sought a response from the State government on an application filed for providing horizontal reservation to Transgender Persons in Public Employment. The applicant submitted that reservation should not be provided under the OBC category but should be provided as a horizontal reservation as a separate special category like the reservation provided for women and persons with disabilities, that can be interlocked with other social categories of vertical reservation of SC/ST/OBC category. The Court gave the direction while hearing the petition filed by Jeeva, represented by Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari and assisted by Almas Shaikh, a Research Associate at CLPR.

Publications

At the Intersections of Caste and Gender

In this article published by the Thinking Republic, Jayna Kothari, Senior Advocate & Executive Director at Center for Law and Policy Research talks about the intersection of caste and gender highlighting the discrimination faced by Dalit and Adivasi trans persons. She also argues that the urgent for all activists, lawyers, researchers and civil society members to be intersectional in its approach to be able to understand the multidimensional discrimination faced by the persons at the intersections of race, caste, and gender identity.

Blog

Legal gender recognition in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

The State legally documents the gender of an individual from birth. For trans persons, the ability to have their gender recognized in official documents is an integral part of their right to life and dignity. Recent developments in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka relating to the legal recognition of the trans community’s right to gender recognition have been hailed as progressive; but do they go far enough? On January 26 2014, the Bangladeshi cabinet formulated a policy creating a distinct third-gender category – ‘hijra’- for trans persons. While this indicates that the State views ‘hijra’ as an umbrella term for all trans people, the term is considered to exclude other communities

News & Media

Ensure free rice to transgenders without ration cards: High Court to Telangana Government

Times of India reported on High Court of Telangana’s direction to the State government where it asked the State government to inform whether it would supply free rice to transgenders and other sections of people who do not have ration cards under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana which promises food grains to even those who do not posses ration cards. The bench gave the order while hearing a PIL filed by Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, represented by Sr. Advocate Jayna Kothari. 

Litigation

Grace Banu Ganeshan & Ors. v. Union of India & anr. | A constitutional challenge to The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019

CLPR has filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court of India on behalf of Grace Banu, and others, who are members of the transgender community, and well-known transgender rights activists who have been working for the promotion of the rights and entitlements of transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons in India for the last several years.

Litigation

CLPR files Applications before Karnataka High Court for protecting transgender persons during the COVID-19 lockdown

The Karnataka High Court has taken up a public interest litigation on relief measures during the COVID lockdown, ranging from access to food and essential items, access to medicines, animal welfare and parole for prisoners. In these ongoing PILs, CLPR has filed an Intervention Application on behalf of Ondede, an organisation working for the rights of transgender persons, and the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, which works closely with SC/ST communities especially manual scavenging groups, tribal and forest-dwelling communities, slum dweller and other vulnerable groups.

Blog

Conversations on Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019

Transgender rights are at the forefront of gender inclusivity in India since the landmark decision of the Supreme Court in NALSA v. Union of India. These dialogues gained significant momentum when the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 was enacted. Taking into consideration the vehement opposition to the legislation, CLPR held a community meeting “Conversations on Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019” to discuss the legal issues and challenges to the law.  The meeting saw participation from the transgender community, lawyers, and human rights activists alike. Strong voices of Anindya Hajra, Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, Grace Banu and Akkai Padmashali guided the conversation through the various issues that are constitutionally and procedurally problematic.

Blog

Sex and gender stereotypes in the Armed Forces

On 17 February, the Supreme Court guaranteed women in the Armed Forces (AF) the right to permanent commission (PC) in ‘The Secretary, Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya’. Upholding a 2010 Delhi High Court judgment, the Court held that the State should provide equal opportunities to both women and men for lifelong service in the Armed Forces. Does the judgment carry any significance beyond the sphere of the Armed Forces?

Publications

Intersections of Caste and Gender: Implementation of Devadasi Prohibition Laws

CLPR’s policy brief on the Devadasi practice in States like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra investigates the prevalence of the practice and reviews the implementation of legislations prohibiting the practice. The policy brief pays close attention to the intersectional discrimination faced by Devadasi women due to their caste, class, and gender and suggests a range of recommendations from statutory amendments to regular empirical studies and training programmes to strengthen the working of the legislations.

Blog

Rajya Sabha Debates on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019 was strategically introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 20th November 2019, being the Transgender Day of Remembrance, by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thawarchand Gehlot. The Bill had previously lapsed after the dissolution of the Lok Sabha on account of the general elections and was reintroduced and duly passed by the Lok Sabha on 5th August 2019. This post captures the key debates held in the Rajya Sabha on the Bill.

Litigation

CLPR files petitions before KAT seeking reservations for transgender persons in Division Assistant posts in Karnataka

The Petition was filed challenging the Notification No. E(2) 7271/2018-19/PSC dated 11.02.2019 (hereinafter the Impugned Notification) calling for applications from eligible candidates to fill up posts of First Division Assistant (FDA) and posts of Second Division Assistant (SDA) of the Bangalore City Civil Court and the different District and Sessions Courts across the State, issued by the Respondent No. 1, seeking that separate reservations be provided for transgender persons.

Publications

Section 377 and Beyond: A New Era for Transgender Equality?

Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari shares her perspective on the progress of transgender rights and equality in India. Beginning with the history of legal battles of the LGBTI and the campaign against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, she moves on to review the Supreme Court’s recent “trans-formation”by recognizing transgender identity. She concludes that criminal law and sexual assault in India is, “still gender specific. It only recognizes rape and sexual assault where the victim in defined as a ‘woman’. Thus, transgender persons facing sexual violence have no criminal remedy”.

News & Media

Madras High Court Reprieve for Three Transgenders

The Deccan Chronicle reports on a recent judgement by the Madras High Court regarding transgender inclusion in the police force. Addressing three writ petitions represented by CLPR, the case dealt with strict upper-age limits for transgender persons applying for the post of grade II police constable. 

News & Media

Revealing Success Story of a Transgender

The Deccan Chronicle’s Yamuna R. speaks to transgender activist Grace Banu and senior advocate Jayna Kothari regarding transgender rights in India and reservation policies in public employment. 

Blog

Breaking New Ground: Transgender Persons’ Fundamental Right to Marry

The fundamental right of transgender persons to marry individuals of their choice was recently affirmed by the Madras High Court in Arunkumar and Another. v The Inspector General of Registration and Ors. The High Court upheld a Hindu marriage between Arunkumar and Sreeja (a transwoman) which the Registrar of Marriages, Tuticorin had previously refused to register.… The Court looked beyond the facts of the case to address issues of self-determination, personal autonomy and freedom of self-expression, culminating in the recognition of transgender persons’ right to marry.

News & Media

Transgender seeks age relaxation up to 45 years

The Deccan Chronicle reports on an ongoing case represented by CLPR, regarding relaxation of age for transgender persons applying for the post of Grade II Police Constable. Quoting Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari who is appearing on behalf of the petitioner Deepika, they note that no reason has been provided for such a strict upper age limit.

News & Media

High Court for Gender Rights

Reporting for the Bangalore Mirror, Shyam Prasad S covers Justice S. Sujatha’s judgement in the Jeeva M. vs State of Karnataka & Anr. case. Describing it as a “significant trendsetter”, he quotes Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari on similar circumstances in 2013. 

Blog

Implementation of Legislation Addressing Gender Injustice in Tamil Nadu, Pt 1: POCSO

We analyse the implementation of the POCSO Act in the State of Tamil Nadu. There appear to be various issues with its implementation in Tamil Nadu, such as the frequent use of the two-finger test by doctors examining the victims of sexual offences. The Supreme Court has established that the test violates the right to privacy, nevertheless it is frequently used in Tamil Nadu.

Blog

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back on Transgender Rights

The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 [“2014 Bill”] was passed as the first private member Bill in four decades in April 2015. Subsequently, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018 [“2018 Bill”] was passed on 17 December 2018 despite fervent objections from the transgender community regarding its problematic provisions. The 2018 Bill, which is currently before the Rajya Sabha, is a volte face on the rights that were guaranteed in the 2014 Bill.

News & Media

Why Activists call the Transgender Bill Shameful

Erwin Fernandes interviews Jayna Kothari for Bloomberg Quint on The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018. The Lok Sabha passed the Bill in December 2018. In reaction, the trans community led nation-wide protests, criticising the Bill for failing to protect their interests.

News & Media

Transgender Persons do not have Social Security

About 50 per cent of the members of the State Gender Welfare Board should be our community. If we have it, we will help the government get the issues we are experiencing. Society should not look at us badly.

News & Media

India – promoting transgender rights

Friedrich Neumann Foundation for Freedom shares its views on CLPR’s work on transgender rights. This includes a transgender rights course taught at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, as well as the Trans Law cell headed by CLPR.

Events

Shaping Law. Shaping Gender – Experiences from India

Jayna Kothari participated in the Interdisciplinary Workshop held on 11 – 13 October 2018 at Humboldt University of Berlin. She was one of the panelists in ‘Systems of Inequality’ and presented her paper titled ‘Is the Supreme Court Cherry Picking its Gender Battles?’

News & Media

377 judgement aids fight for transgender rights

This is a video response of Jayna Kothari on the Section 377 verdict.
While the transgender community is fighting their own separate legal battle in recognition of their rights, the decriminalisation of homosexuality by the Supreme Court today will aid the fight for transgender rights, says Jayna Kothari.

Blog

Pakistan’s Historic Transgender Rights Act: A step towards Trans Equality

The Parliament of Pakistan passed The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act on May 8th 2018 marking a historic victory for the trans community in Pakistan. The Act, which protects the rights of gender non-conforming persons and outlaws discrimination both by the State as well as private entities and persons, grants an individual the right to self identity their gender.

Blog

Announcement: Selected Student Journalists for Transform– 2nd International Conference on Transgender Rights and the Law

On 14th and 15th April 2018, Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) is organizing Transform – 2nd International Conference on Transgender Rights and the Law. On 4th April 2018, CLPR had called for Student Journalists for the Conference.
In a short span of 2 days the CLPR team received over 30 applications from students across the nation. We carefully assessed the applications and are happy to announce the following students who we have selected to as Student Journalists for the upcoming Conference.

Blog

Panel on “UCC in India: An Endeavor towards seeking Gender Justice” at IFIM Law College

IFIM Law College hosted panel discussions on Uniform Civil Code in India. Satya Prasoon, an associate at CLPR was a panelist at the IFIM law school where he presented a paper titled ‘Of Constitutional Mythos and Nervous Nationalism: The Pathologies of UCC.’ The discussion was spilt into two panels, the first discussing the topic: “Constitutional Perspectives of the Uniform Civil Code” and the second, “The conflict of the UCC and personal laws in India”.

News & Media

Cell to provide free legal advice to Transgenders

The Deccan Herald’s issue dated 12.10.2017 offered an in-depth coverage of the efforts undertaken by the Centre for Law & Policy Research towards empowering the Transgender community by setting up a free weekly legal aid cell for their assistance.

News & Media

CLPR launches 4 Week Course on Transgender Identity & Laws

The Times of India covered CLPR’s course on transgender Identity & the Law. The course consisting of seven sessions was designed by Jayna Kothari, Executive Director of CLPR and introduced at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore on 30.08.2017.

Blog

The Transgender Welfare Development Board, West Bengal – A Wasted Potential

Three years down the line however, the Board seems to be languishing in bureaucratic lethargy. This is not because of the lack of initiative on the part of its members. The Board comprises of well-known and respected members of the trans community. Rather, the disenchantment with the Board stems from the lack of transparency in its creation, non-inclusiveness, internal divisions within the community and lack of a steady funding supply

Publications

Courts Recognizing Transgender Rights

In an article published in the Oxford Human Rights Hub, Jayna Kothari and Diksha Sanyal discussed the legal landscape of transgender rights in India, referring in particular to the recent amendment of Section 36A of the Karnataka Police Act.

Blog

Violence that is Not Gender Neutral

With utmost respect to the Supreme Court, it is absolutely incorrect to state that domestic violence is gender-neutral. It is not. The world over, a vast majority of domestic violence is experienced by women at the hands of men. It is not a random event of violence but is a consequence and a cause of women’s inequality and is linked to the discrimination and devaluing of women. As per the National Crime Records Bureau, reported cases of domestic violence in India went up from 50,703 in 2003 to 1,18,866 in 2013. These are all cases of domestic violence against men. The U.K. Violent Crime and Sexual Offences study of 2011-2012 reported that 80 per cent of offenders in domestic or sexual violence were male.

Blog

A Case for Representation in Criminal Law Reform

In May 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs constituted the Committee for Reform of Criminal Laws. The purpose of this first-of-its-kind Committee is to reform substantive and procedural criminal laws because the current laws “…reflect State paternalism and…Victorian morality of the colonial states…[and] the socio-political beliefs and legal discourse of that era”.  

Blog

Protecting the Rights of Victims & Witnesses in Caste-Based Atrocities

Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe persons (SC/STs), who comprise 28% of India’s population, have faced discrimination in Indian society, socially and economically, for hundreds of years. Due to their weak social and economic background, they often lack the resources to navigate India’s legal system and fight for their constitutional rights.   

Publications

The Trans Act Is A Reflection Of Our Broken Democracy

In this opinion piece published by Huff Post, Vikramaditya Sahai argues that how trans politics and their demands challenge the logic of representative democracy that holds the formation of the National Council for Transgender Persons as signs of development and progress itself. 

Blog

Disability Rights to Disability Justice: India’s Case for a Transition

There are two competing, often overlapping, movements regarding persons with disabilities – disability rights and disability justice. The former focuses on securing equal opportunities and equal rights for all people with disabilities, while the latter is a framework that examines disability and ableism as it relates to other forms of oppression and identity. “Disability justice” is a term coined by the black, brown, queer, and trans members of the original Disability Justice Collective, founded in 2005 by Patty Berne, Mia Mingus, Stacey Milbern, Leroy Moore, Eli Clare, and Sebastian Margaret.

Blog

Equality, Non-Discrimination & the Guarantee of Healthcare

The right to equality and non-discrimination involves not only formal equality in law but obligations on the State to provide substantive non-discrimination for those persons and groups who suffer differential impacts. In the context of healthcare, this means recognizing stigma, discrimination, and exclusion as a result of disability, health status, gender and gender identity, and other social, economic, and cultural categories. Positive obligations, in that case, should extend beyond the prohibition of discrimination, to inclusive policies, reasonable accommodation, and affirmative action’s accounting for special needs and acknowledging existing barriers in the access to healthcare. As the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted, healthcare as an occupation is also in need of protection with multiple reports of attacks on healthcare workers stigmatized as carriers of the virus.

Blog

Non-Personal Data Regulation: Interrogating ‘Group Privacy’

In the last post, we examined the Government of India’s Draft Report on Non-Personal Data, and its justifications for regulating NPD for ‘economic benefit’. This post examines the concept of ‘group privacy’, which has been presented as a justification for the regulation of NPD.

Litigation

Kabeer C alias Aneera v. State of Kerala & Ors.

A Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Kerala High Court by Aneera Kabeer, a transgender person involved in mobilising persons in the transgender community for the purpose of achieving equal opportunities for the community. The Petition seeks various reliefs relating to transgender people during period of COVID-19 threat. The writ petition sought for measures by the state government for “the distribution of food ration, medicines, access to medical treatment, etc. to the transgender community in Kerala.”

Blog

CLPR | Trans Law Quarterly | Issue I

Putting this newsletter together became a practice of accounting how we gather together, of holding to our greatest capacity as we shrink in the onslaught of terrible abandonment and destruction. We hope that whenever you find the time to peruse through this, it will remind you that we are in this together.

Blog

Announcing New Equality Fellow

We are excited to announce the joining of a new Equality Fellow: Thulasi K Raj
She will engage in litigation and advocacy in the State of Kerala to work with communities facing discrimination based on caste, gender, sexuality, gender identity, and minority status.

Blog

India needs an institutional framework for Pre-legislative Consultations

Amid the coronavirus pandemic and countrywide lockdown, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had asked for comments from all stakeholders on the Draft Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules 2020 on April 18, 2020.  Initially, the deadline to submit the comments was April 30, 2020. It meant that only 12 days were given to file the comments  – which violated the  Pre-Legislative Consultative Policy (PLCP hereafter) 2014. A range of civil society activists working in the fields of transgender persons’ rights cried foul and this appeared to have an effect.  On April 30, 2020, the government extended the deadline till May 18th, 2020 which exactly met the PLCP guidelines.

Blog

Need for Recognition of Trans Rights in International Human Rights Law

A cursory look at the development of trans rights indicates that the world has made significant progress in addressing the recognition of gender identity rights. These regional and domestic developments do not, however, recompense the reality that transgender persons still suffer some of the most pervasive forms of violence and discrimination. In the absence of concrete universal standards, States are free to formulate laws that grant limited or arbitrary rights to transgender persons.

Blog

Is it possible to be Trans, Legal, and Free?

The NALSA Judgment (2014) and the Navtej Johar Judgment (2018) both produced a subject of gender and sexuality in a present-in-history. Both judgments presumably did not announce the recognition of new identities but traced histories of identities built on sexual and gendered differences from ancient India onwards.

Blog

(IN)-EQUALITY in Private Actions

India has witnessed a rise in intolerance over the past few months. From intolerance towards dissent, housing decisions taken based on political leanings to violence towards minorities (religious or socio-economic), show a growing unease and divide in the citizens of India. These acts of violence, discrimination or unequal treatment can be divided into two categories.

Blog

Why India needs both more and less of Article 370

As of 2020, constitutional democracy in India has taken a less recounted journey, one towards a more imperial Centre and less autonomous states. Democratically elected state governments have been dismissed, States have been demoted to Union Territories, independent constitutional bodies have been subjugated and now the most existential test of all that faces the peoples of India is one of citizenship!

Blog

Tackling Caste Discrimination Through Law: Ernakulam Dialogues

On 28th February 2020, CLPR organized a workshop for civil society organisations on ‘Tackling Caste Discrimination through Law’ in Ernakulam in association with the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN). The day was divided into two sessions, – (i) An introduction to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (PoA Act) and the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 (PCRA) and (ii) group activity.

Events

RBG – Film Screening and Discussion

The National Constitution Society Christ (Deemed to be University) Chapter will organise a film screening and discussion on Ruth Bader Ginsburg for their college students from diverse disciplines. The event will focus on Justice Ginsburg’s contribution in shaping gender equality jurisprudence in the United States.

Publications

Equality Bill 2020: Takes a New Step in Addressing Discrimination, Recognising Intersectionality & Promoting Equality.

CLPR’s draft Equality Bill 2020 takes a new step in addressing discrimination experienced by people on the basis of caste, gender, religion, transgender and intersex identity, disability and other grounds. It aims to promote equality, prohibit different types of discriminatory conduct, provide adequate civil remedies and set up fora for redressal that are accessible and effective in addressing discrimination.

Blog

Introducing Intersectionality | Course

The course uses academic writing, legal texts, commentaries, personal narratives, fiction and cultural texts to understand how intersectionality affects our study of the law, advocacy, and activism; how the law, legal studies and legal practice is transformed by intersectionality; and how intersectionality challenges, resists, and reimagines legal normativity.

Litigation

Bhavika Pore v. Union of India & Anr.

The Centre for Law and Policy Research recently filed an intervening application on behalf of Swati Bidhan Baruah, lawyer and transgender activist, in a case titled Bhavika Pore v. Union of India. The Petitioner through this Petition is invoking the writ jurisdiction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India to direct the concerned authorities to fulfil their statutory obligations with regard to setting up/specifying special Human Right Courts in each district for the better protection of Human Rights and also to appoint a Special Public Prosecutor for the same, vis-à-vis section 30 and 31 of the Human Rights Act, 1993.

Litigation

Sai Rahul Vijayakumar v. The Registrar, Bharatiyar University & Anr.

The Hon’ble Madras High Court held, with respect to a petition for change of name and gender of a transgender person in educational documents, that on receipt of the application along with the fee of Rs.500, the Respondent No. 1 University should carry out the necessary change within a period of three weeks.

Blog

CLPR releases report of study on Intersectional Discrimination

As part of its work on equality and non-discrimination, CLPR conducted a study on experiences of intersectional discrimination in South India between May – November, 2018. The objective of the study was to understand the relationship between different intersecting identities and various sites of discrimination such as educational institutions, workplaces, police stations, and public transport.

Blog

The Draft National Education Policy, 2019 : Rights and Inclusion

The Draft National Education Policy, 2019 (DNEP) released by the government on May 31, 2019 has been described as a much needed attempt to overhaul the prevailing education system in India.  Despite the initial uproar about the alleged imposition of Hindi in the curriculum, the policy appears to have found a good balance between retaining the old and ushering in new changes. In this post, we only respond to two crucial issues.

Blog

Five Years Since NALSA: How Have the High Courts Fared?

Five years after the NALSA judgement, how have courts and government bodies fared in complying with the right to self-identify? This piece presents an analysis of cases in the High Courts which have dealt with self-identification of gender in employment, inclusion in the police force, and identification changes in educational certificates.

Blog

Equality Bill 2019 | May 15th Consultation

On 15th May, we organised a consultation on our Equality Bill 2019 (“Bill”) in Hyderabad. The CLPR team presented the provisions of the Bill and sought suggestions, inputs and feedback from the participants, which included various academics and members of civil society organisations working with marginalised groups. This blog post presents the key points of the consultation.

Blog

Sexual and Reproductive Rights in India: Social Movements and Legal Battles – DAY 2

On April 14th and 15th, we hosted the ‘Sexual and Reproductive Rights: Social Movements and Legal Battles’ conference, in collaboration with the University of Bergen, Norway and the University of Sussex at the Bangalore International Centre (see the full agenda here). The conference aimed to bring together prominent activists, academics and lawyers to discuss important issues and approaches that have developed in sexual and reproductive rights (SRR) advocacy in India. One of the key objectives of the conference was to shed light on issues and marginalised communities that are at the margins of SRR discourse and action.This blog post presents the key points raised on day 2 of the conference.

Blog

Sexual and Reproductive Rights in India: Social Movements and Legal Battles – DAY 1

On April 14th and 15th, we hosted the ‘Sexual and Reproductive Rights: Social Movements and Legal Battles’ conference, in collaboration with the University of Bergen, Norway and the University of Sussex at the Bangalore International Centre (see the full agenda here). The conference aimed to bring together prominent activists, academics and lawyers to discuss important issues and approaches that have developed in sexual and reproductive rights (SRR) advocacy in India. One of the key objectives of the conference was to shed light on issues and marginalised communities that are at the margins of SRR discourse and action.This blog post presents the key points raised on day 1 of the conference.

Blog

Indian General Elections 2019: Election Manifestos and Deprived Electorates

In the run up to the 17th Lok Sabha Elections 2019, India’s major political parties have released their manifestos to woo the Indian electorates. In this blog post, Avinash Shahi critically explores the pledges committed by national political parties for the upliftment of marginalized groups, which routinely confronts deprivations and indignities.

Litigation

Grace Banu Ganesan v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.

This Public Interest Litigation filed by Grace Banu, a transgender rights activist, seeks the implementation of horizontal reservations for transgender and intersex persons in admission into educational institutions and public appointment in the State of Tamil Nadu.

Blog

South Asian Translaw Database | Beta version is now live!

The South Asian Translaw Database is a database to collate and present case laws, legislation, policies, and reports pertaining to transgender rights in the South Asian region. The beta version of our database is ready and we are very keen to receive comments and feedback!

Blog

CLPR Equality Fellowship | Selected Fellows

CLPR has selected the following five Equality Fellows: Krithika Balu, Itla Ragiri Jayalakshmi, Anima Muyarath, C Prabhu.

Equality Fellows will will dedicate the next 2 years to the better implementation of equality and non-discrimination law in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Blog

CLPR Equality Fellowship | Selection Weekend

On 12th and 13th January 2019 we will conduct interviews to select up to 6 Equality Fellows who will dedicate the next 2 years to the better implementation of equality and non-discrimination law in India. 13 talented candidates will appear before a 4 member panel of prominent activists and human rights advocates: Mihir Desai, Martin Macwan, Anindya Hajra and Jayna Kothari.

News & Media

Bitter Bill

Nikita Puri describes how the trans community is furious with the new Transgender Persons Bill 2018. She interviews CLPR Executive Director and Senior Counsel, Jayna Kothari for a closer analysis of how the Bill fails the community.

Publications

Making Rights Real | Policy Brief

CLPR’s policy brief develops a comprehensive and functional strategy for the implementation of reservations for transgender and intersex persons in educational institutions and public employment. In order to implement reservations, we must address three principal issues: identification of beneficiaries of reservations, legal basis for reservations and the appropriate form of reservations.

News & Media

Trans Bill and reservations: Policy brief for trans and intersex persons released

In order to take the first step to address the problem of implementing reservation for transgender and intersex persons in education and public employment, the Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR released a policy brief. The event, organised by CLPR, held a panel discussion by Senior Advocate and Executive Director of CLPR Jayna Kothari; Director of the Trans Rights Now Collective Grace Banu; and Assistant Professor of Law at National Law University, Delhi, Dr Anup Surendranath.

Publications

Findings of the CLPR’s Research on Intersectional Discrimination

CLPR has conducted qualitative and quantitative research on discrimination faced by persons at the intersection of caste with gender, gender identity and disability. We presented the preliminary findings of the study on 21 November 2018 at a consultation organised with community members and other stakeholders. CLPR intends to prepare and publish a detailed report on the methodology and results of the study shortly.

Blog

Call for Applications: The CLPR Equality Fellowship

We invite applications for The CLPR Equality Fellowship. The CLPR Equality Fellowship is a paid, two-year opportunity which will be awarded to 6 young lawyers keen to pursue the practice of public interest law on a full-time basis. Application Deadline: December 30, 2018, 5PM IST

Blog

Caste Discrimination in India: A study of NCRB data (Part IV)

The recent gruesome report of the beheading of a minor SC girl in Tamil Nadu for rejecting the advances of an upper caste male once again throws the issue of caste discrimination into sharp focus. Women from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and violence due to the intersection caste and gender. Despite this, we note that crimes against SC and ST women are viewed as either caste based crimes or sex based crimes. Further, while data on caste based crimes is readily available in the NCRB reports, which we have analysed in our previous posts I, II and III, disaggregated data on crimes against women is not presented.

News & Media

Teenager beheaded in southern India in caste-based violence

The beheading of a 13 year old girl in Tamil Nadu is another example of caste based violence perpetuated against women. In this article CNN quotes Jayna Kothari who argues for looking at these crimes in an intersectional way: as caste and gender based violence.

News & Media

Order, order

This article looks at the judgments of the Supreme Court in Section 377, adultery, and Sabarimala cases. It quotes Jayna Kothari  on Akkai Padmashali, transgender rights activist, who was one of the Petitioners in Section 377 case. Jayna says ““Akkai insisted on telling her story”.

Litigation

Joseph Shine vs. Union of India

CLPR represented the intervenor Vimochana in the Supreme Court and challenged the constitutionality of the offence of adultery under Section 497 of the IPC. We argued against adultery as an offence by invoking the fundamental right to privacy and argued that the right to intimate association is a facet of privacy which is protected under the Constitution. The Supreme Court unanimously struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code as being violative of Articles 14. 15 & 21 of the Constitution.

Blog

National Constitution Society 2018

The Convention will be an opportunity to critically engage with the Indian constitution and develop a plan to preserve, protect and promote constitutional values in the 21st century. The Convention will facilitate collaboration and engagement between student members of the NCS along with eminent lawyers, civil society leaders and retired Judges who will be patrons and will be the first step towards the establishing the NCS as an independent Society.

Publications

The Supreme Court trans-formed

Jayna Kothari, Executive Director at CLPR and Advocate, Supreme Court of India, writes in The Hindu. In this article, she examines Navtej Johar judgment’s special relevance for transgender rights: the contributions of the trans community to this outcome and how the judgment takes transgender rights forward.

Publications

The rainbow in our clouds

Jayna Kothari, Executive Director of CLPR and Advocate, Supreme Court, had represented transgender rights activists, Dr. Akkai Padmashali, Sanaa and Umi Umesh, in the Supreme Court on Section 377 challenge case. Deccan Herald carried Jayna’s piece today where she analyses the key themes the Court relied on to read down Section 377

Litigation

Dr. Akkai Padmashali & Ors vs. Union of India

CLPR represented Dr. Akkai Padmashali, Uma Umesh,  and Suma M in the Supreme Court to challenge Section 377 of the IPC. The Supreme Court held Section 377 as unconstitutional to the extent that it criminalised consensual sexual activity of any kind between adults. It was further held that the provision was manifestly arbitrary and violative of an individuals right to autonomy.

News & Media

TRANS-forming Courts | Jayna Kothari

“TRANSformation of courts” throws light on the drastic conditions of the transgender community. Jayna feels that it is important that stories of the daily lives and experiences of trans people must be told in the court.In a world full of muffled silences, she made sure their voices were heard. By fighting these cases, she hopes that the courts, the State, public authorities, and society see trans persons not as criminals, but as citizens, with equal constitutional rights. Watch this video to understand the burning need to make our society inclusive of all the marginalised communities.

Blog

Movie Review: “Njan Marykutty”

The media rarely portrays a transgender woman accurately. In fact, they are consistently shown in a negative light. However, “Njan Marykutty” released in June 2018 is a Malayalam movie which delivered a pleasant surprise during Pride month.

News & Media

Fall of Sec. 377 will embolden LGBTQ people: CJI

Ms. Jayna Kothari, Executive Director of CLPR, represented Dr. Akkai Padmashali, a trans-rights activist, in Section 377 challenge. Ms. Kothari argued for scrapping Section 377 and cited several state laws which target transgender community and classify them as ‘criminals’. Her arguments were covered by The Hindu.

Blog

Caste Discrimination in South India: A study of NCRB data

On 21 May 2018, The Wire reported the death of a Dalit man in Gujarat who was allegedly beaten to death when he protested the fact that his wife was asked to clean filth, free of charge. This reporting comes only two months after the decision of Subhash Kashinath Mahajan, where the Supreme Court diluted some of the protections under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (‘Act’). The incident is a striking example of the pervasiveness of caste bias and the prevalence of atrocities in India.

Blog

Transform

Expanding on TransForm 2016, we hosted TransForm 2018 on 14th and 15th of April 2018, at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore. It marked the fourth anniversary of the National Legal Services Authority v Union of India judgment, as well as the 127th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. At a time when transgender rights had been gaining attention globally, this conference involved international speakers such as Prof. Stephen Whittle (United Kingdom), Prof. Carlos Zelada (Peru), Busisiwe Deyi (South Africa), and Audrey Mbugua (Kenya). Together, they broadened our understanding on the trans-law movements in other parts of the world.

Publications

A promise falls short

In this article published in The Hindu on the 4th anniversary of NALSA judgment , Jayna Kothari argues that it is time to push for reforms to give transgender persons their rights.

Events

CLPR Occasional Talks #16 | Prof Maya Unnithan on ‘Making Rights Real: Fertility Politics and Legal Activism’

Prof Maya Unnithan is a Professor Of Social And Medical Anthropology (Anthropology, Sussex Centre for Migration Research, International Development). Maya is a Member of Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth  and Director of the Centre for Cultures of Reproduction, Technologies and Health. Her research expertise and interests include: caste and kinship, childbirth and infertility, gender and development, health and migration, human rights and reproductive health, maternal health inequalities, reproductive technologies, social anthropology.

Blog

Celebrating Republic Day with Mallya Aditi International School

The CLPR team celebrated Republic Day on 26th January 2018 with the students and staff of Mallya Aditi International School, Bengaluru. We created an immersive experience for students from the 1st to the 12th grade, educating them on the Indian Constitutition and the significance of Republic Day through quizzes, debates and puzzles.

Blog

Last Week at CLPR: 12th November– 18th November, 2017

Weekly roundup of the last week at CLPR. The Supreme Court verdict in the Child Marriage and Marital Rape case, Karnataka State Policy for Transgender Persons, Children’s Day and hearings in the Special Status for Delhi case were discussed this past week.

Blog

Last Week at Centre for Law and Policy Research: 8th-14th Oct 2017

The Centre for Law and Policy Research encourages and facilitates civic engagement with India’s Constitution through the CADIndia project and Supreme Court Observer. CADIndia promotes an understanding of the Indian Constitution by enabling easy and intelligent access to the Constituent Assembly Debates and the Indian Constitution at the centre of discussions on contemporary political and economic issues. The SCObserver website endeavors to make the workings of the Supreme Court accessible and understandable to the citizenry by translating the hearings and judgments of a few constitutionally relevant cases into everyday language.

Publications

The Indian Supreme Court Declares the Constitutional Right to Privacy

Jayna Kothari wrote in the Oxford Human Rights Hub about the recent unanimous decision by the Supreme Court to declare the Right to Privacy as a Constitutional Right. She details how the Right to Dignity formed the core of the reasoning that led to the definition of the Right to Privacy. The acknowledgment by the Court of the importance of the principles of autonomy, the individual’s right to choose, the right to move freely, right to self-identify one’s gender, right to bodily integrity and reproductive makes this one of the most progressive verdicts passed by the Supreme Court of India.

Blog

NALSA Judgement Orientation by Swatantra and CLPR on 1st Aug 2017

hile the NALSA judgment recognises the ancillary rights to vote, marriage, adoption, hold property etc., transphobia and the limited perceptions of society prevents equal access to education and employment. Prejudiced societal norms that manifest in biased behaviours have forced the transgender community to take up begging and enter the sex trade to make a livelihood. While the judgment is progressive and promising, there is much work pending at the ground level.

Publications

Article on the Supreme Court decision seeking to amend Section 2(q) of the Domestic Violence Act

In this Article published in the Kannada Daily, Prajaavaani, Jayna Kothari critiques the decision of the Supreme Court holding Section 2(q) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, to be unconstitutional. The impugned section defines “respondents” under the Act to only include “adult males”, thus allowing aggrieved persons under the Act to file a case only against adult male relatives.
Jayna Kothari argues that provisions of the Domestic Violence Act are not meant to be construed as gender neutral. She elaborates how it is necessary and intentional that legal provisions on violence against women  should apply only to males as perpetrators of such violence.

Blog

Fast Track only in Name

The gruesome gang rape in Delhi in December 2012 re-ignited popular demands for fast-track courts to be established to conduct speedy trials in cases of sexual violence against women and on August 13, 2013, the Government of Karnataka passed an order (G.O. No.74 LCE 2013, dated 13.08. 2013) directing 10 fast track courts to be set up in Karnataka solely to try cases of rape and sexual assault against women. CLPR conducted a detailed study of the setup and working of these fast track courts.

Publications

Recasting the Judicial Appointments Debate

The Centre for Law and Policy Research presents its working paper on “Recasting the Judicial Appointments Debate: The Constitutional (120th Amendment) Bill, 2013 and Judicial Appointments Commissioner Bill, 2013”

Publications

Denying the disabled.

SINCE 1996, when the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (PWD Act), came into force, by far the majority of cases taken to court have been about equal opportunity in public employment, that is, reservation of jobs for persons with disabilities and related matters such as promotions, identification of posts and eligibility. This struggle is in many ways not that different from the caste and gender battles for affirmative action in government employment.

Blog

Justice Verma Commitee Report: A manifesto of change

On 23rd, January 2013 the Justice Verma Committee on amendments to Criminal Law, was constituted to look into possible amendments of the Criminal Law to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals committing sexual assault of extreme nature against women. It was constituted a few days after the brutal gang rape in Dehli on December 16, 2012. The urgency of the matter impelled the Committee to undertake the performance of the assigned task within the short span of 30 days, so the Committee has been facilitated in the task by an overwhelming response to the Public Notice, an oral consultation with the women’s social action groups and experts in the field.

Events

CLPR Occasional Talks #3 | Sonal Makhija on The Challenges faced by women lawyers in India

ainmaker has recently released a report on the challenges faced by women lawyers in India. The report looks into the presence of women in law firms, litigation practice, and the legal departments of companies contains data on work-life balance, gender bias in the legal workspace, parental leave policies, transition from maternity leave to work, and the rating of employers on their policies and practices. The report also offers solutions to aid employers in retaining talent and making the workspace conducive for working mothers.