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Transgenders get sympathy from SC, but no relief February 20, 2009

Posted by nitinkarani in English, Times of India, Transgender.
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From The Times of India:

17 Feb 2009, 0245 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: An emotional demand by transgenders for notional equality in society through a constitutional compensation package, akin to that for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, evoked sympathy from the Supreme Court on Monday, but it said that the government alone could help them.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam, hearing a PIL filed by a transgender Sonam Singh from Ajmer in Rajasthan, said a representation should be addressed to the government, which was free to take steps notwithstanding the SC’s refusal to entertain the petition.

When Singh, through counsel Santhosh Tripathy, sought an end to the centuries-old gender discrimination against the community, the Bench made an innocent inquiry: “What are Kinnars, a caste or community?”

Blaming the governments for being traditionally insensitive to the pitiable plight of the transgenders, the petitioner demanded setting up of a commission to determine the legislative corrective measures needed for upliftment of this forgotten branch of society.

“The transgenders, reduced to begging in the street, have never got the fruits of the constitutional mandate of democratic socialism, which in the broader sense attempted to bring an end to poverty, illiteracy and inequality of opportunity,” said Tripathy.

The petitioner also had a grievance against the Election Commission for not providing for a gender category in the nomination forms for candidates from among the transgenders.

He had also sought a direction to the human resource develoment ministry to conduct a special education programme for transgenders and the government to announce special rehabilitation packages for them.

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