The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to help it with a petition filed by a transgender person, who said she has been unable to register her start-up because of a mismatch in the genders mentioned on her Permanent Account Number and Aadhaar cards, PTI reported.
Reshma Prasad, an activist and entrepreneur from Bihar, has asked the court to direct the government to introduce a third gender option for PAN card registrations. Currently, Aadhaar registrations have a third gender category, but the PAN card database only recognises men and women.
Prasad told the court that she is registered as a transgender in her Aadhaar card. However, she had to enrol for PAN as a man since the Income Tax Department’s systems do not provide a third gender category. She told the Supreme Court that her attempts to link her PAN and Aadhaar cards have been unsuccessful because the genders do not match.
The petitioner also said she has not been able to get financial grants from the Bihar government for her start-up, which works with transgender persons, because to start the company, she needs to create a Digital Signature Certificate. She cannot do this until the details on both her identity documents match.
The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar listed the matter for the second week of May after saying, “Let a copy of the petition be served to the central agency so that we can have the assistance of the attorney general.”
Earlier in March, the Centre had assured the Supreme Court that it will resolve the problems faced by transgender people in linking their Aadhaar numbers with PAN, after a similar petition reached the court. During that hearing, the Centre’s counsel Zoheb Hossain admitted that such a problem existed but assured the bench that linking the numbers will not be a problem after the Income Tax Department’s software is upgraded, the Hindustan Times reported.