The Madras High Court has asked the Tamil Nadu government to initiate steps to provide reservations to transgender persons in the local body elections as a welfare measure with a view to include them in a mainstream society and ensure their democratic participation.
"It is in these law making forums, where transgender persons can express their views and discuss their rights. More so, transgender persons have a right to reservation, owing to the fact that “they are socially Backward Class" a bench of Justice S M Subramaniam said.
The court said that in order to give the voices of this community, the reservation for transgenders must extend to forums of law making institutions.
The bench rued the social stigma attached to transgenders is yet to be removed.
Maintaining that social ostracisation is anti-thesis to humanity, the bench said rights of transgenders has long been discussed.
"It is beyond understanding as to how a human can be differentiated based on physical, social or mental differences. As long as the majoritarian group of the society with select ideals keep stigmatising and ostracising a minority group purely based on gender, this will not only promote unhealthy social living conditions but also hamper the growth of our Great Nation," the court said.
The bench directed the Tamil Nadu government to take actions to grant reservation to transgender persons in local body elections.
It also ordered the Cuddalore district Collector to take steps to remove the President and members of Nainarkuppam village panchayat by invoking the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, 1994, for passing a resolution seeking the district administration to revoke allotment of land for transgender persons in the village.
By a writ petition, president of the village panchayat N D Mohan questioned the inaction of the district administration on its resolution against allotment of pattas to transgenders on the ground that it would result in destruction of the culture in the locality and would be detrimental to the future life of the youngsters.
Instead, the district collector issued a show cause notice to the panchayat under Section 46(1)(a) and the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, 1994.
During the hearing, the petitioner then sought to withdraw the plea, which was rejected by the court.
"The constitutional courts are failing in its duty to protect the constitutional mandates, philosophy and ethos, if the petitioner is permitted to withdraw the writ petition. Therefore, the petitioner cannot be allowed to walk away simply by withdrawing the writ petition," the bench said.