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Delhi HC seeks Centre’s response on separate public toilets for transgenders

Ms. Jasmine Kaur, petitioner-in-person submitted that the said notification sought for a two-year time period for the completion of the creation of separate public toilets for trans persons and for the time being, designated stand-alone toilets meant for Persons with Disabilities for use by transgenders.

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The Delhi High Court on Monday sought response from the Centre, Delhi Government, and other authorities in a plea seeking the establishment of separate public toilets for the transgender community.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued a notice in the PIL by a final year law student. 

Jasmine Kaur, the petitioner-in-person, informed the court that in accordance with the previous order, the fact of publication of notification dated February 12, 2021 issued by the Department of Social Welfare has been verified. She submitted that the said notification sought a two-year period for the completion of the creation of separate public toilets for trans persons, and for the time being, designated stand-alone toilets meant for Persons with Disabilities for use by transgenders. However, no steps in furtherance have been taken even after six months. “The harassment that they (transgenders) face on a daily basis is not something that we can ignore,” stated Kaur. The matter is slated for September 13, 2021.

Earlier, the Bench granted time to the counsel for the petitioner Rupinder Pal Singh to verify if notification dated February 12, 2021 issued by the Delhi Government in compliance with the provisions of Section 22 of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, specifying that adequate welfare measures for transgender persons would be taken at the earliest, has been published or not filed by Jasmine Kaur Chhabra through Advocate Rupinder Pal Singh. The plea contends that the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) Revised Guidelines dated October 5, 2017 provides for making separate seats/toilets for the transgender community. The plea further contends that the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, criminalizes any kind of discrimination against a transgender person in matters pertaining to education, employment, healthcare, movement, and right to reside.

Relying on the decision of the Supreme Court in “National State Legal Authority v. Union of India”(AIR 2014 SC 1863), wherein the Apex Court accorded “third gender” status to transgenders in the country, the plea states that not having the facility to use a separate public washroom would be violative of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Also Read: Delhi HC defers hearing after Delhi govt seeks time on appointing APPs in fast track courts for POCSO, rape cases

“Since there are no separate toilet facilities for transgenders, Trans women are often subject to humiliation and harassment as they are forced to use male washrooms. Discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation or gender identity, therefore, impairs equality before the law and equal protection of the law and violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India,” the plea adds.

In addition to building separate washrooms for the third gender, the plea seeks directions for taking necessary actions in accordance with the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) Revised Guidelines dated October 5’2017. The plea further seeks maintenance of hygiene in the said toilets. 

The plea states thus: “Every human being be it of any gender has some basic human rights, one of which includes facilities for using separate public toilets. It is not fundamentally or morally judicious/correct to ask anyone specific gender to use a public toilet which is made for any other gender.”

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