The petitioner, in this case, filed a case against the government of Kerala and claimed that the distribution of food, medicines, and medical facilities was not provided to the transpersons even if they have Ext.P1 identity card issued by the Social Justice Department. Additionally, it alleged that the transpersons have been expressly discriminated against in relief efforts during the spread of Covid-19. The petition also emphasized on how the petitioner was excommunicated from her own home because of her gender identity and has to face bias and prejudice on daily basis. It said that the transpersons community in Kerala particularly suffered infringement under Articles 14, 15, and 21.
The petitioner also said that the petition also expressed that at the national level, the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017) urged the empowerment of the transgender community by subsidizing their schooling, housing, access to healthcare, skill expansion, employment, etc.
The petition stated:
“It is also pointed out that they do not have access to ration and community kitchen and despite earnest efforts made by them, there is no supply of food, medicines, etc. to the transgender and it is also alleged that several members of the community do not have ration cards, and access to food”.
The Court issues writ of Mandamus directing the State of Kerala to:
- Assure adequate distribution of food rations, vegetables, and essentials to transgender persons in Kerala from Civil Supplies Offices, even without ration cards till COVID-19 persists.
- Ensure adequate medicines, including HIV and hormone therapy medicines from primary health centers, government hospitals, and dispensaries till the pandemic continues.
- Mandating to ensure unemployment allowance till the pandemic subsides.
- To ensure cooking facilities, access to community kitchens, free LPG cylinders, and rehabilitation for transgender persons in Kerala as long as Covid persists.
The Bench remarked, “Therefore, in order to translate the rights into a reality, and to avoid practical difficulties, we are of the firm opinion that it is for the members of the community, or NGOs and others who are working with the transgender community to identify the problems faced by the members of the community and point out the same to the officers”.
The court also opined, “If and when any member of the transgender community approaches the District Authority or Nodal Officer appointed for the purpose of issuing gender identity card and the ration card, necessary steps shall be taken at the earliest to address the issues, and on being satisfied, to take immediate steps to issue identity card and ration card to such persons”.
Vaishali Jain, Advocate & Associate – POSH at Work & Hamda Arfeen