Gauhati High Court pulls up Assam government for slacking, not showing sensitivity towards welfare of transgender persons

The Court was told that a recent recruitment drive for the appointment of police officials did not have a separate category for transgender persons and that they were clubbed with male candidates instead.
Chief Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Devashis Baruah
Chief Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Devashis Baruah

The Gauhati High Court on Friday asked to Assam government to be more proactive towards implementing the laws concerning the welfare and employment of transgender persons.

A bench of Chief Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Devashis Baruah was hearing a batch of petitions regarding the welfare of transgender persons in Assam.

The plea moved by activist and advocate, Swati Bidhan Baruah pointed out that the recent recruitment for sub-inspector and constable posts in the Assam Police did not have a separate category for transgender persons. Instead, they were clubbed with male candidates.

This prompted Chief Justice Mehta to criticise the State for its insensitive approach.

"Physical standards are the same - how can that can be done? You seem flustered, non-plussed. This is totally against what is mandated by law, not at all showing sensitiveness to the category as is required. Because proceedings are too slack. We would say the response is not forthcoming at the desired pace, need to pull up your socks, okay?" he said, addressing the State's counsel.

The Court proceeded to direct the State to conduct further studies and come up with a proposal for a draft action plan for the future recruitment of members of the community by June 27, when the matter would be heard next.

During the course of Friday's hearing, Baruah also pointed out that no concrete steps had been taken towards the formation of a transgender welfare board, which had been called for in earlier orders.

Chief Justice Mehta, after examining an affidavit filed by the State in the case, observed that the government's submissions on this aspect appeared to be vague.

"This is very vague. What direction has been given (about formation of the board)? Letter has been silent. Why should you be so vague? Simple direction could have been forwarded with the proposal," he remarked.

Baruah contended that mandatory boards and committees needed to be formed as per the Supreme Court's NALSA judgment, which were not done.

The Court was also told that the recent police recruitment even violated the glossary of terms issued recently by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news