|Case No.||WP 19706/2021||Date of Filing||28/10/2021||Status||Pending||Petitioners||Dr. Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju||Respondents||1. State government of Karnataka- Women and Child Development Department 2. State government of Karnataka- Higher Education Department 3. State government of Karnataka- Directorate of Medical Education 4. The Grants University Commission 5. National Medical Commission|
The Petitioner has filed the public interest litigation (PIL)- W.P No. 19706 of 2021 to address the lack of inclusive and safe accommodation for transgender students in higher educational institutions. The Petitioner is a transgender person who identifies herself as a female. When she was a student of medicine, the educational institute refused to accommodate her in girl’s hostel even after she had undergone a sex-reassignment surgery. She is one of India’s first transgender doctors, and has been a forebearer for transgender rights in recent times.
Transgender students are deprived of an inclusive and accommodating educational environment, since sufficient hostel facilities are denied to them. Denying transgender students access to hostels based on their self-determined identity is in essence a denial of their identity and the benefits of acknowledgment of their choice. This is in complete violation of NALSA v. Union of India (2014) 5 SCC 438 which categorically recognized the right of self-determination of one’s gender identity. Such denial for allotting hostel rooms according to their gender identity often forces trans students to drop out of higher education because of the harassment faced by them as they are placed in opposite gender hostels, as many do not have the privilege to pay for a safe private accommodation outside university.
The non-allotment of hostels to transgender students as per their self-identified gender is in contravention to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 (“the Act”) as well. Sections 3 and 13 of the Act prohibits discrimination in educational institutions. Rule 10 of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020 directs the appropriate Government to formulate educational schemes to facilitate accommodation and schooling for transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex children in residential government schools and universities. However, despite these regulations there is no specific rules framed for housing and hostel facilities for transgender students in higher educational institutions in the State of Karnataka.
The Petitioner has thus sought for orders directing all higher education institutions in the State should be directed to include in their admission and hostel forms the option for including gender identity as ‘transgender’, in addition to male and female, and that transgender students in higher education should be accommodated according to their self-determined gender identity and be provided with separate hostel facilities for transgender students. The petitioner has also sought directions to educational institutions to frame guidelines that when a student wants to change their gender identity during the course, it may be done through a self-declaration affidavit and that proof of surgery should not be required.
The Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka has issued notice to the State and has directed them to file their reply by the next date of hearing. The case is now posted on 06.06.2022.