The Central Government on Monday informed the Delhi High Court that transgenders shall now be included as a separate gender category in Prison Statistics Report prepared by the National Crime Records Bureau.
A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan was hearing a PIL filed by a law graduate Karan Tripathi who sought inclusion of separate data on transgender prisoners in NCRB reports.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma stated that NCRB has issued a communication informing that it intended to classify prisoners as male, female, and transgenders from its report, Prison Statistics India – 2020 onwards.
The plea said that to date, only two genders appear in the Prison Statistics India report published by the NCRB — male and female — to the complete exclusion of the third gender.
“In light of the growing neglect towards the welfare of the transgender community, especially during the COVID-19 and denial of basic necessities to the transgender community in general, it is difficult to imagine the state of transgender prisoners in jails where they are not even recognized as a third gender on paper, let alone in the reality behind the bars,” stated the plea.
Therefore, the plea urged the High Court to direct the Central government and the NCRB to issue directions to the concerned prison authorities and departments to maintain data on transgender prisoners, inmates in each and every document, or report required to be maintained by the said authorities and departments as per laws applicable.
It also sought directions to NCRB to take appropriate action to ensure proper implementation of the directions/guidelines passed by the Supreme Court of India in the matter titled “National Legal Services Authority vs. Union of India”, while arguing that unless transgender inmates were recognized, the guidelines passed by the Supreme Court to protect their rights could not be implemented.
Further, the plea argued to ensure equality and protection under Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Constitution of India, it was imperative to categorize the third gender/transgenders as a separate gender in prison statistics.
On the previous hearing, the court had asked the Centre to respond while saying that “prima facie, the prayers are very pertinent and reasonable”.