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Implement SC directives for welfare of transgender people: HC

GUWAHATI, May 26: Over 5,000 transgender people living in Assam can now hope to lead a dignified and comfortable life with the Gauhati High Court asking the State Government to implement the Supreme Court’s directives towards achieving such an end within six months. The high court issued its order to Dispur on May 22 after hearing a PIL filed by Swati Bidhan Baruah, a city-based transgender.

Baruah sought the court’s intervention as Assam had not acted upon the Supreme Court’s directives such as steps to treat transgender people as socially and educationally backward classes of citizens and extend reservation for admission in educational institutions and in public appointments. HIV sero-surveillance centres for transgender people, steps to address fear, shame, gender dysphoria, social pressure, depression, suicidal tendencies and social stigma and awareness programme were also recommended.

On May 22, a division bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Chief Justice Ajit Singh and Justice Suman Shyam told the State Government that the committee constituted by the latter in November, 2017 should submit its recommendations within three months and it should be implemented within six months.

The high court observed that despite the apex court’s directives to all states in 2014, no steps were taken in Assam. “It’s only after receiving a notice from this court that the government constituted a core committee, comprising senior officers and persons having knowledge in the subject, including the petitioner, to make an in-depth study of the problems faced by the transgender community and suggest measures that can be taken by the government to ameliorate their problems,” the bench said.

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Ankur Kalita