"Specify steps taken under Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019: Guwahati High Court to Assam and Centre

  • Lawbeat News Network
  • 09:08 AM, 09 Oct 2021

The Guwahati High Court has asked the Union and the Assam government to specify steps taken by them in terms of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

The High Court Bench consisting of Justice N. Kotiswar Singh and Justice Manish Choudhury was hearing a petition filed by one Swati Bidhan Barua raising questions on transgender issues in Assam.

Referring to its order dated Mar 25, 2019, wherein it had asked the state as well as the central governments to showcase the steps taken by them in the light of the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in National Legal Services Authority Vs. Union of India and Ors, the court mentioned the Transgender Person (Protection) Rights Act, 2019 and said it comprehensively deals with many of the issues, challenges and difficulties faced by the community.

It specifically pointed out provisions under Chapter VI, under the head:

EDUCATION, SOCIAL SECURITY AND HEALTH OF TRANSGENDER PERSONS

The provisions read as follows:

"13. Every educational institution funded or recognised by the appropriate Government shall provide inclusive education and opportunities for sports, recreation and leisure activities to transgender persons without discrimination on an equal basis with others.

14. The appropriate Government shall formulate welfare schemes and programmes to facilitate and support livelihood for transgender persons including their vocational training and self-employment.

15. The appropriate Government shall take the following measures in relation to transgender persons, namely:—

  1. to set up separate human immunodeficiency virus Sero-surveillance Centres to conduct sero-surveillance for such persons in accordance with the guidelines issued by the National AIDS Control Organisation in this behalf;
  2.  to provide for medical care facility including sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy;
  3. before and after sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy counselling;
  4. bring out a Health Manual related to sex reassignment surgery in accordance with the World Profession Association for Transgender Health guidelines;
  5. review of medical curriculum and research for doctors to address their specific health issues;
  6. to facilitate access to transgender persons in hospitals and other healthcare institutions and centres;
  7. provision for coverage of medical expenses by a comprehensive insurance scheme for Sex Reassignment Surgery, hormonal therapy, laser therapy or any other health issues of transgender persons."

Highlighting the same the court asked the governments to explain what steps they had taken till now in furtherance of these provisions.

Swati Bidhan Baruah is the first transgender judge in Assam and the third in the entire country. This public interest litigation (PIL) was filed questioning the non-implementation of the Supreme Court guidelines in National Legal Services Authority Vs. Union of India and Ors. The High Court stated that before going into the issues in the PIL, it is pertinent to understand the steps already taken by the government, if any, to implement the guidelines.

Cause Title: Swati Bidhan Baruah V. The State Of Assam And Ors