|Case No.||Writ Petition No. 74/2020||Date of Filing||17/04/2020||Status||Pending||Petitioners||Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli||Respondents||State of Telangana|
Over the last two weeks, CLPR filed public interest litigation in the Telangana High Court on behalf of Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, a trans rights activist and one of the founding members of the Telangana Hijra, Intersex and Transgender Samiti, which is an unregistered organization working for the welfare and the rights of transgender persons in Telangana. The PIL is on relief measures during the lockdown ranging from access to food and essential items, access to medicines, and other welfare measures for the transgender community. This PIL is numbered W.P. (PIL) No. 74/2020.
Ms Mogli submitted that in the present situation of the COVID-19 health crisis and the lockdown announced by the central government, there is a serious impact on the transgender community in Telangana specifically with regard to access to food, basic essentials and other requirements. Many members of the transgender community, due to a complete loss of income, are unable to for rations and basic essentials like food grains, milk, vegetables and staple food items, pay rents for their houses and are thus being threatened with eviction. Many have taken private loans and unable to repay the interest to the money lenders. Many persons from the trans community are taking hormone therapy and during this period they do not have the means to purchase their medications due to which they are facing ill-health. The most vulnerable are those who are elderly, with diabetes, HIV and other health conditions where they need medication and they are unable to afford them due to the lockdown and complete loss of earnings.
The reliefs sought for by the trans community are:
- State Government to provide free of cost rations, food and nutrition and provisions including vegetables and fruit to members of the transgender community from ration shops and also from other outlets without insisting for the production of Ration card.
- Free of cost medicines to transgender persons including HIV medications, hormone therapy medicines, diabetes and other medications to be made available to transgender persons from primary health centres and from government and public hospitals.
- Respondent State government to be directed to allow transgender persons to apply for and provide the payment of three months social security pension to transgender persons under the Aasara scheme.
- Government to provide free LPG cylinders, rations and waive electricity bill for 6 months to transgender persons. These measures are also assured for 3 months under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana.
- Government to extend the Aarogyashri government medical insurance to transgender persons and Direct that the Aarogyashri include the health challenges of COVID-19.
- Respondent State Government to take appropriate action against those who are targeting the Transgender Persons by falsely labelling them in public as the potential carriers of HIV positive and Corona-Virus and consequently direct the Respondents herein to protect the life by providing appropriate security to the Transgender persons in all public places.
- Respondent State Government to place a moratorium on the collection of rents till the end of June free of interest & late payment penalty fees and pass orders directing that landlords should not evict transgender persons from existing rental premises for non-payment of rent during the present period.
Apart from the PIL filed, an IA was filed within this PIL seeking the Hon’ble Court to direct the Respondents herein to immediately ensure the supply of all basic essential rations, food and nutrition and provisions including vegetables, fruits and medicines for free of cost to all Transgender persons and consequently direct the Respondents herein to provide proper health care for free of cost to all Transgender persons diagnosed with HIV positive and those Transgender persons undergoing sex reassignment, pending disposal of WP(PIL) 74 of 2020, on the file of the High Court.
The PIL filed by Ms Mogli was taken on record by the High Court and heard on 27.04.2020. It directed the State Government to submit a report with regard to (i) number of transgenders living in the major cities of the State, (ii) the concrete steps being taken by the State Government for ensuring that the members of the transgender community have ready availability of food grains, consumable items, and medicines as per their need and requirements, and (iii) the number of NGOs with which the Government is coordinating in order to ensure that all the essential commodities do reach the transgender community through these NGOs. The State Government is further directed to ensure that these commodities are given to the members of the transgender community free of cost and without insisting on the production of ration card/white card etc. The report shall be submitted by the learned Advocate General on or before May 08, 2020.
In the order dated 29.06.2020, the Hon’ble Court brought under record two reports submitted by the Respondent and recognised that they were highly vague. On the prayer of the Petitioner, the Hon’ble Court directed the Respondent to work on two points – namely:
a. Lack of access of transgender persons to public distribution systems due to unavailability of ration cards;
b. designation of special wards for the members of the transgender community in the hospitals.
In the order dated 07.07.2020, the Hon’ble Court directed the Respondents to ensure that the benefit of the Centra-1 Scheme is extended not only to the members of the transgender community but also to others, who may not be holding ration cards in their favour. In the order dated 14.07.2020, the Court directed the respondents to clarify whether l0 kgs of rice would be available on a monthly basis or for the complete period of July to November 2020. Secondly, it directed that the Government should consider if the transgender can receive the said quantity of rice on the basis of Aadhar card or any other government identification document. Thirdly, the Government should consider if the transgender community members can pick up the above-mentioned quantities of rice from any of the Fair Price Shops rather than restricting it only to shops having ePoS devices.
In its order dated 20.08.2020, the Court took on record a report submitted by the learned Advocate General dated 05.07.2020 which states that transgender patients will not be neglected and be kept in specially designated wards/beds. It also took into record another report dated 22.07.2020 which states that members of the transgender community would be given 10 kgs of rice per month free of cost till November 2020. For the same, the member would need to show their Aadhar Card or any other identification document to the Fair Price Shop.
In the latest order dated 20.09.2022, the Court found that the PIL raises important issues relating to the transgender community and that it will deal with reliefs beyond what was sought in the PIL. The Court also directed the State to submit details on whether the Aasara pension scheme can be extended to the transgender community and on the recently constituted Transgender Welfare Board. The matter is now listed on 19.10.2022.