|Case No.||PIL No. 52/2020||Date of Filing||27/08/2020||Status||Pending||Petitioners||1. All Assam Transgender Association, Represented by its General Secretary||Respondents||1. Union of India, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, New Delhi 2. Shri Kak Chingtabam Shyamcand, Member of National Council for Transgender Persons under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, New Delhi 3. Aryan Pasha, Member of National Council for Transgender Persons under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, New Delhi 4. Ms. Reshma Prasad, Member of National Council for Transgender Persons under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, New Delhi 5. Shri Patel Chandubhai Ganeshdas, Member of National Council for Transgender Persons under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, New Delhi|
This Petition is filed in public interest on behalf of the transgender community in Assam and in India to protect their right to adequate representation in the National Council for Transgender Persons as provided under Section 16 of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019 (‘The Act’).
The All Assam Transgender Association (‘Petitioner’) is a trust working extensively for the betterment of the transgender community and works in the field of education, environment, livelihood, health, human rights, advocacy, empowerment etc. to improve living conditions of the transgender community of Assam.
Section 16 of the Act provides that the Central Government by notification shall constitute a National Council for Transgender Persons. The National Council has to advise the Central Government on the formulation of policies, programs, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons and to monitor and evaluate the impact of policies and programs designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons. It also has to review and coordinate the activities of all the departments of the government and other governmental and non-governmental organizations which are dealing with matters relating to transgender persons and to redress the grievances of transgender persons.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India issued a Gazette Notification dated 21.08.2020, constituting and bringing into effect the National Council for Transgender Persons as provided under Section 16 of the Act. The said Notification consists of five representatives from the transgender community and four experts from non-governmental organizations or associations.
However, the transgender persons representing the North-East region has not been established as an active participant of transgender rights movement in that region and has been provided the membership on arbitrary basis. Further, the requirement as per the Act to nominate five experts to represent non-governmental organizations and associations has been violated as only four such experts have been selected. As most of the experts nominated under the above-mentioned Notification do not have registered NGOs working towards transgender rights, this petition was filed on the ground that their inclusion is completely malafide and does not benefit the transgender community in any way.
On this ground, the Petitioner prayed for the quashing of the above-mentioned Notification dated 21.08.2020 and also sought a direction from the Hon’ble Court to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India for the re-evaluation of the members nominated under Section 16 (2) (g) and Section 16 (2) (h) of the Act after putting in place a transparent process for the selection of members such as inviting submissions for the same or having a search committee to finalize the selection. Further, the Petitioner also prayed for the notification of eligibility criteria by the Central Government for the nomination within the National Council for Transgender Persons and for the members to be nominated pursuant to such procedure and eligibility.
The Hon’ble High Court heard Ms. Jayna Kothari, Senior Advocate and co-founder of CLPR on 30.03.2022 and has provided the Union of India one last opportunity to file their reply and the case remains pending.