|W.P. No. 12035 of 2021
|Date of Filing
|The Chief Secretary, Government of Tamilnadu Secretary, Cooperation Food & Consumer Protection Department Secretary, Social Welfare & Nutritious Meal Programme Department Secretary, Health and Family Department
This is a Public Interest Litigation filed by a transgender activist, Grace Banu before the Madras High Court seeking various reliefs for Transgender Persons amid the second wave of Covid-19.
The Tamil Nadu government had announced a cash relief of Rs. 4000/- for all rice ration cardholders in the state of Tamil Nadu during the second wave of COVID-19. It had also issued a Government Order bearing G.O.(Ms) 37 dated 07.05.2021 to give the Covid-19 cash relief Rs.4000/- and to give the first installment of Rs. 2000/- in May 2021.
In Tamil Nadu, many transgender persons do not possess ration cards, and hence although they are desperately in need of cash relief and would be deprived of it only for not possessing ration cards. Out of around 11,449 transgender persons who were surveyed by the government, only 2541 had ration cards. The petition also stated that the Transgender Welfare Board had also stopped issuing identity cards to transgender persons since 2020. There was also the concern for vaccinations for transgender persons since the members of the trans community were unsure if they could take vaccines, as many of them were on hormonal therapy and HIV / AID mediation and treatment.
The Petitioner thus prayed for the extension of the covid-19 cash relief of Rs. 4000/- and the first instalment of Rs. 2000/- to transgender persons who do not have ration cards, by issuing a Corrigendum to the G.O.(Ms) 37 dated 07.05.2021 and to conduct awareness programmes for Transgender Persons in the State of Tamil Nadu, regarding Covid-19 Vaccination, especially to clarify and assure them on the safety of vaccines for those who are undergoing hormone therapy and other treatment and conduct special vaccination drives for transgender persons in Tamil Nadu by assisting them to register online and get special vaccination slots in local community health centres.
The Hon’ble Madras High Court in an order dated 27.5.2021 observed that the fact that eligible (transgender) persons need to possess ration cards may not stand in the way of their receiving the cash relief since there are other forms of identity cards that indicate their orientation and directed the Government to take a decision on the issue of extending cash relief to transgender persons. It also directed by way of order dated 7.6.2020 that considering the vulnerability of transgender persons, it is hoped that the State will consider vaccinating transgenders on a priority basis.
In the order dated 02.08.2021, while disposing of the petition, the Madras High Court noted that transgender persons had received the first installment of Rs.2000 and the State had waived the requirement of registration cards to be produced and extended the aid to eligible transgenders on the basis of any form of identification card. The Court also noted the submission of the Advocate General that the same would be followed for the second installment. Regarding vaccination for transgender persons, the Court disposed of the petition in the hope that all transgender persons be vaccinated within three months. Read the final order here.