The Madras High Court on Friday has been informed by the state government that it has decided to extend the benefit to all transgenders in the State irrespective of whether they possess the registration cards or not. The Court was hearing the plea seeking directions to receive COVID19 cash relief for transgenders in the State without any valid registration or identification papers.
During the hearing of the case on Friday, the Court has noted that the only reservation of the State is that while the State may not insist on strict registration documents or identity proof, the grant should not be abused and some form of recording the name and address of the beneficiary should be allowed.
The division bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice R. Subbiah has said that, “Since the State has agreed to extend the benefit to all transgenders in the State irrespective of whether they are registered or not, an appropriate modality should be worked by which the transgenders receive the benefit and yet, the system is not misused.”
The Court has also granted three weeks time to the petitioner to indicate whether any genuine transgender has been left out from the list of beneficiaries entitled to receive Covid cash relief from the State Government.
The High Court was hearing a petition filed by Grace Banu, a transgender rights activist, highlighting the issue that transgenders not holding ration cards have not received the Covid-19 cash relief amount of Rs 4,000 announced to be extended to all rice ration card holders by the Government and thereby, prayed for a direction to the Government to pay cash relief to the transgenders in the State without insisting upon ration cards.
The petitioner, on the last date of hearing, suggested the Court to consider the persons who have applied to the Transgender Board as eligible to receive the assistance. The suggestion was made in lieu of notification dated June 3, 2021, issued by the State Government, wherein the Government decided to distribute cash relief to the tune of Rs.2,000/- per beneficiary to 8,493 ‘third genders’ who do not have ration cards, but are registered with the Third Gender Welfare Board. The petitioner informed the court that the said Board in the State has not been functioning for about a year, and that not all transgenders possess any form of identification or acknowledgment by any government organisation of their status. In light of the above, the Bench sought response from the State Government if the suggestion made by the petitioner could be considered.
Pursuant to this, the petitioner filed a formal memorandum seeking extension of the Covid cash relief to all transgenders irrespective of such persons possessing any valid registration or identification papers.
The State Government submitted that it has been asserted in the memorandum that only 2956 transgenders have been provided with the first lot of cash relief and there are a further 8493 transgender persons who are entitled to receive the same benefit.
The matter will now be taken up on 9th July’ 2021.