The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Ministry of Law and Justice on a plea challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, reported Bar and Bench. The petitioner, Assistant Public Prosecutor Jamshed Ansari, said it violated Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution as it excludes transgenders as victims of unnatural offences.

Ansari added that Sections 8 and 10 of the Indian Penal Code should include transgender/third gender and not just male and female. The division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said the matter would be heard next on January 7.

Section 377 of IPC extends only to men, women and animals, excluding ‘transgender/third gender’ at the same time,” read the petition, according to IANS. “There is no mention of a third gender. Such discrimination against an individual on the basis of gender identity is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual which is against the mandate of Articles 14, 15, 21 of the Constitution of India and the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”

Ansari cited the landmark Supreme Court ruling of 2014 when it recognised transgender people as the third gender. He quoted the judgement to say that transgender people were entitled to fundamental rights under the Constitution of India and protection of all laws.

Ansari argued that there was no protection to transgender/third gender when an unnatural offence is committed against them. To support his claims of discrimination, Ansari cited an instance when the Delhi Police had refused to register a first information report for an offence under Section 354-A against a victim of sexual harassment on the ground that it applied only to women.

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