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HC of J&K & Ladakh directs identification of transgenders in UTs
3/26/2024 10:24:39 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Mar 26: In a significant development aimed at ensuring constitutional rights and welfare for the transgender community in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh, a Division Bench of the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court, comprising Chief Justice N Kotishwar Singh and Justice MA Chowdhary, has granted a two-week extension for identifying the number of transgenders in the respective Union Territories (UTs).
This decision comes in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed to address the rights and needs of the transgender community. Earlier, the Division Bench had directed the administrations of both UTs to undertake exercises to determine the number of transgenders. The petitioner has also been given the opportunity to provide additional information and documentation regarding the number of transgenders.
The Bench directed the administrations to publish advertisements in electronic and print media, seeking information about transgenders. This initiative aims to accurately determine the number of transgenders and provide necessary assistance through District Legal Service Authorities where required.
Additionally, the J&K State Legal Service Authority and Ladakh State Legal Service Authority have been instructed to assist individuals claiming transgender status and ensure their particulars are recorded by the administrations. The PIL was initiated following directions from the Supreme Court in the case of National Legal Services Authority vs. Union of India and others.
However, discrepancies in the reported numbers of transgenders have been raised by Iqral Khalid, contesting the figures provided by the UTs. While Ladakh reported a total of 6 transgenders (4 in Ladakh and 2 in Kargil), J&K claimed 550 transgenders, with 450 in Kashmir Division and 100 in Jammu Division. The petitioner's counsel argued that many transgenders remain uncounted, emphasizing the need for accurate enumeration. The Division Bench concurred, emphasizing the importance of proper ascertainment of transgender numbers district-wise to facilitate necessary assistance and outreach efforts by the authorities and District Legal Service Authorities.
This directive reflects the High Court's commitment to upholding the rights and dignity of the transgender community, ensuring their inclusion and support within the legal framework of the UTs.
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