The Delhi High Court has asked the Arvind Kejriwal government to decide within a month whether transgender persons can be recognised as the third gender on bus tickets and allowed to travel for free, Bar and Bench reported on Tuesday.

A single bench of Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora passed the order while hearing a contempt plea against the Delhi government and the Delhi Transport Corporation, filed by a transgender person, Amit Juyal. The order was passed on April 21.

Juyal claimed that the Delhi government had disobeyed the court’s order on October 19 to make a decision on the matter by February. The court had also asked the government to consider providing free tickets to transgenders, saying that the community was economically and socially backward.

In the contempt plea, Juyal pointed out that transgenders face extreme hardship while purchasing tickets on a bus as their gender is not recognised by the Delhi Transport Corporation, reported The Indian Express.

The petitioner said bus conductors deny free tickets to transgender persons who identify as female, as they consider them male. The conductors accuse the transgenders of wanting to commute for free as women are allowed to travel without any cost in Delhi buses, Juyal added.

In 2019, the Aam Aadmi Party government had made travel for women free in Delhi Transport Corporation and cluster buses.

During Friday’s hearing, the counsel representing the Delhi government said that the transport ministry has not provided any clarity on how long it will take to decide on recognising transgender persons as the third gender on bus tickets, Bar and Bench reported.

To this, Justice Arora said that the state government’s inaction and failure to comply with the court’s direction for over six months is “certainly protracted”, reported Live Law.

The judge also said that the managing director of the Delhi Transport Corporation will be summoned if the government fails to comply with the direction. The next hearing in the case will be held on August 18.