The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre on a petition asking for the framing of laws to protect transgender people from sexual violence, Live Law reported.
The petition was filed by advocate Reepak Kansal, who argued that there was no penal provision at present to shield transgender people from sexual crimes. It was heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.
“The Indian laws are for men and women and therefore, considering transgender…they generally could not get justice from the authorities due to lack of law/Act,” Kansal said in his petition. “The third gender, they are being deprived of many of the rights and privileges which other persons enjoy as citizens of this country. The State cannot discriminate them on the ground of gender, violating Articles 14 to 16 and 21 of the Constitution of India.”
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The advocate said that law-enforcement authorities were unable to invoke charges in cases of sexual crimes against transgender people, despite their prevalence. “Statistics show that one in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives,” the petitioner said, according to The Times of India. “In cases of sexual assault of transgenders, law enforcement agencies are often at a loss to ascertain applicable provisions of law as there is no provision in IPC.”
The chief justice noted that it was a good petition and required hearing. He directed the petitioner’s lawyer to submit details of instances where the top court had enforced temporary legislations to make up for the absence of laws for transgender people. “There are a number of cases in which this Court has legislated till the law was passed, like the Vishakha guidelines,” Bobde said, according to Bar and Bench. “Submit a list of those issues also.”
The Vishakha guidelines that made it mandatory for institutions across the country to put in place measures to prevent and redress sexual harassment in the workplace. The guidelines laid the foundation for the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.