HC orders determining transgenders’ number afresh in J&K, Ladakh

SRINAGAR, FEB 23: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has directed administrations of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to determine afresh the number of transgenders in the respective Union Territories.

A division bench of Chief Justice N. Kotiswar Singh and Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal also directed the administration of both the UTs to issue advertisements by widely publishing in electronic as well as in print media, seeking information about the transgenders.  

The court was hearing Public Interest Litigation taken up by the court pursuant to certain directions issued by the Supreme Court in National Legal Services Authority vs. Union of India and others (2014) 5 SCC 438.

“The UT of Ladakh has submitted its response enumerating various measures undertaken by the Administration to deal with the issues pertaining to transgenders, however, in the said response, it has been mentioned that the total number of transgenders is 6, 4 in Ladakh and 2 in Kargil,” the Division Bench said. However, the figure was seriously contested by counsel for the petitioner, saying that numbers are large and that these have not been properly identified.

Similarly, UT of J&K filed the response in which it has been mentioned that there are 550 transgenders out of which 450 are in Kashmir Division and 100 in Jammu Division.

This figure was also contended by counsel, saying that “thousands” of transgenders have remained uncounted in both the J&K and Ladakh and as such impressed upon the proper ascertainment of the total number of transgenders living in the UTs.

“We are also of the view that proper ascertainment of the number of transgenders district-wise would be desirable so that the concerned authorities, as well as District Legal Service Authorities, could reach out to them to render the necessary assistance as contemplated in the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” the court said and accordingly directed authorities of both the UTs to undertake further exercise to determine the number of transgenders in the respective Union Territories.

“The petitioner would be also at liberty to furnish the number of transgenders in both the UTss with necessary documents if she so desires,” the court said.

In this regard, the court said that the Administration of both the UTs may issue advertisements by widely publishing in electronic as well as in print media seeking information about the transgenders which will not only help in determining the number of transgenders who are in the Union Territory, and, but wherever necessary, they can be provided assistances by the concerned District Legal Service Authorities. “Accordingly, while issuing this direction to both the UTs, we also issue direction to the J&K State Legal Service Authority, and Ladakh State Legal Service Authority, to provide necessary assistance to any person who may claim to be a transgender and their particulars are also recorded by the Administrations,” the court said. The court ordered the listing of the PIL on 18 March 2024.

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