The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice in a plea seeking equal protection of laws from sexual crimes to the transgender community in the context of the Indian Penal Code.
A three-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramniun while hearing the petition seeking equal protection from sexual crimes for the transgender community, asked the Senior Advocate Vikas Singh appearing for the petitioner(s) as to how many times the Court had legislated upon similar cases.
“There are a number of cases in which this Court has legislated until the law was passed… Like the Vishakha guidelines. Submit a list of those issues also,” observed the bench while stating that it is a good petition,
The plea highlighted that clauses (i), (ii) and (iv) of sub-section (1) of Section 354A of IPC exclude victims of sexual harassment who are transgender persons, which is violative of Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution of India. Through the current petition, the petitioner sought to make appropriate modification/interpretation of sections of IPC, dealing with sexual assault to include transsexuals and eunuchs in its definitions.
“The Indian laws are for men and women and therefore, considering transgender neither men nor women, they generally could not get justice from the authorities due to lack of law / Act. The third gender, they are being deprived of many of the rights and privileges which other persons enjoy as citizens of this country. The State cannot discriminate them on the ground of gender, violating Articles 14 to 16 and 21 of the Constitution of India,” read the plea.
It further seeks a direction to the government to make gender-neutral laws dealing with sexual harassment mechanisms and also to adopt and implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights being a signatory of it.
Subsequently, the top court asked senior advocate Vikas Singh to place before it a list of issues on which it had laid down guidelines, including the Vishaka Guidelines, issued in 1997, against sexual harassment at the workplace.