Stigma Attached To Transgender Community Augmented Post Lockdown; Bombay HC Directs Social Justice Dept To Address Concerns.

    The plea stated that primary occupation of transgender community is sex work and begging, based on close proximity with people and with distancing norms in place, majority of them are facing a total loss of income.

    The Bombay High Court on Friday in the case of Vikram Ramesh Shinde vs State of Maharashtra & Ors directed the state social justice and special assistance department to decide, within a fortnight, the representations made by an activist working towards uplifting the transgender community.

    The Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice MS Karnik were hearing a PIL filed by Vikram Shinde who expressed concerns regarding lack of medical and essentials supplies for the community, pointing out that the members of the community suffered financially after the nationwide lockdown was imposed due to Covid-19.

    Advocate Aditi Saxena presented on behalf of the petitioner, submitted that majority of the members of the community are sex workers and beggars, so the lockdown resulted in complete stop to their livelihood. In addition to the social stigma attached with the community they are refused from basic healthcare and ration facilities as they do not have Aadhar or Ration card.

    Most importantly, the plea stated that there is high prevalence of HIV, up to 8.2 per cent, as per studies, and along with low immunity, transgender community remain extremely susceptible to Covid-19.

    The HC observed that instead of keeping PIL pending, it should be disposed of at this stage with appropriate directions. Chief Justice Datta granted liberty to the activist to file a comprehensive representation to the principal secretary of the social justice department, incorporating all concerns of the community, within a week.

    The court further directed the authority to consider and decide over these concerns, as per law, by passing an order within a period of fortnight. Finally, disposing the PIL, the court also directed the state to communicate its ultimate decision to activists.