HC seeks progress report on transgender rights in J-K and Ladakh

The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has issued a fresh directive to the Union Territory of J&K and the UT of Ladakh in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) advocating for the rights of transgender individuals.

The court has instructed both territories to provide an updated status report on their compliance with the various directives, enabling the court to issue appropriate orders accordingly.

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A bench comprising Chief Justice Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Kazmi Khajuria was hearing a Public Interest Litigation seeking recognition of transgender individuals in the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh in consonance with the directions of the Supreme Court in the case of National Legal Services Authority vs Union of India & Ors (2014).

In their plea the petitioners have submitted that the social recognition of transgender women is very low in Kashmir and that they are addressed with demeaning and stigmatized connotations.

“They face unfairness in every aspect of life be it employment, legal recognition, access to social resources including decent life standard and education. For all of them the struggle usually starts from an early phase. The non-conformity, to their prescribed gender roles makes them vulnerable and often leads to verbal and corporeal abuse at the hands of their parents, siblings and other family members. The intimidating environment even prevails at schools and other educational Institutions which almost certainly force them to leave studies in order to avoid the mocking and harassment which leads to the mental trauma,” the petition reads.

When the matter came up for hearing, the counsel for the petitioner pointed the multiple orders that have been passes in the matter but have not been complied with.

Taking note of the argument the bench observed, “Several directions were issued by this court from time to time. However, as to the steps taken by the State authorities, the same has not been placed on record, though it has been submitted that various steps have been taken.”

It thus directed both the Union Territories to submit the updated status compliance report. Petitioners are also directed to submit the suggestions as to the steps which may be required to be taken into consideration while issuing directions to the authorities concerned.

The matter is now listed on July 19.