SC issues notice to Centre in PIL for equal protection of law to transgenders in sexual offences
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Centre in a PIL seeking equal protection against sexual offences for the transgender community.
While hearing the petition the Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian noted that there are no such provisions in the Indian Penal Code.
The plea states that there is no provision or section of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that will shield the third sex from sexual harassment by males/females and other transgender and anti-discrimination provisions of order to protect the Transgender Community.
The PIL was filed by Advocate Reepak Kansal. Though agreeing to issue a notice in the matter, the Court also asked Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, representing the petitioner, to table a list of issues on which the Court had "legislated" and laid down guidelines.
"There are a number of cases in which this Court has legislated till the law was passed... Like the Vishakha guidelines. Submit a list of those issues also." CJI SA Bobde
It is also stated that clauses I (ii) and (iv) of sub-section (1 ) of Section 354A of the IPC preclude victims of sexual harassment who are transgender people, the plea states that the rule is challenged in the plea as being ultra vires to Articles 14 , 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
A PIL seeking equal protection from sexual crimes for the transgender community under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was brought before the Supreme Court last month. The plea pointed out that there is no provision in the IPC to protect transgender people from sexual assault by any male, female or other transgender person.
"The Indian laws are for men and women and therefore, considering transgender neither men nor women, they generally could not get justice from the authorities due to lack of law / Act. The third gender, they are being deprived of many of the rights and privileges which other persons enjoy as citizens of this country. The State cannot discriminate them on the ground of gender, violating Articles 14 to 16 and 21 of the Constitution of India," Adv. Kansal states.
The Apex court had granted "recognition to the transgender/ third gender as 'persons' falling under the ambit of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution" still, they do not have equal protection of law concerning sexual offences
"In spite of declaring transgender people to be a 'third gender' by this court, there is no provision/section in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which may protect the third gender from the sexual assault by male/female or another transgender," plea states.
The seeks the court to issue direction to the Centre to "make appropriate modification/ interpretation of sections/ provisions of IPC dealing with sexual assault to include transgender/ transsexuals/ kinnar and eunuchs in the definitions accordingly"
The Plea seeks "to issue an appropriate order directing the respondents to pass an Anti-Discrimination Bill that penalises discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender" .
It further seeks the court to issue a direction to the Centre to adopt and implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights being signatory of it.
Additionally the plea also seeks a direction to the government to make gender-neutral legislations dealing with sexual harassment.