Transgenders have had to fight tough battles with Indian law- from the controversial Trans Bill to the catastrophic NRC law, they threatened the existence of the Transgender community in India. However, on a brighter note, the centre informed the High court for a communication to be issued to all states and union territories to include transgenders in prison statistics reports from 2020 onwards.
This move is a result of public suit that was filed in the Delhi High Court seeking The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to recognise transgenders as a separate and third gender category in their prison statistics report. This suited was filed by Karan Tripathi and deemed the court’s immediate attention as data colle ctions processes for the prison statistics report were already underway.
The plea stated that the exclusion of third gender from the report was non-inclusive and demanded a much needed change. “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 recognised as a third gender on paper, let alone in the reality behind the bars”. The plea also urged the NCRB to take the matter into their own hands and ensure proper implementation of the directions that were passed on by the Supreme Court as not doing so would be in direct violation of Articles 14, 15 (regarding the equality of all citizens), Article 19 (freedom of speech), and Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Indian Constitution.
The passing of this plea is an integral step in the inclusion of the trans community and a successful attempt in ensuring that their civil, constitutional, and human rights respected even in the Indian prison system. Transgenders face a lot more hardships in the prison system like bullying, misgendering, harassment, sexual abuse and assault on a much higher rate when compared to any other prisoner. The report also stresses the importance of educating the prison authorities in making sure that such instances do not take place anymore and transgenders are able to carry out their sentence without any trauma. This plea was also successful in making the central government hold sensitisation and training workshops in a positive effort to “manage the carceral experience of trans persons” said Tripathi on Twitter.