As the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has taken a grip over the entire nation, there are certain sections of society who are still being neglected and are thus facing the wrath of the pandemic as well as its after-effects coupled with the already existing social stigma attached to them. One such section of society is that of the transgender community.
The Hon’ble High Court of Telangana in response to a petition ordered the State to provide free ration to the transgender community free of cost without insisting for the production of ration card.
The order was pronounced in response to a writ petition filed in the nature of Mandamus by Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli wherein the following directions to the Respondents were sought from the Hon’ble High Court:
- Provide free of cost rations, food and nutrition and provisions including vegetables and fruits to members of the transgender community from ration shops and also from other outlets without insisting for the production of Ration Card;
- Provide free of cost medicines to transgender persons including HIV medications, hormone therapy medicines, diabetes and other medications to be made available to transgender persons from primary health centres and from government and public hospitals;
- Allow transgender persons to apply for and provide the payment of three months social security pension to transgender persons under the Aasara scheme;
- Provide free LPG cylinders and waive electricity bill for 6 months to transgender persons in the lines of the similar assurance for 3 months under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana;
- Extend the Aarogyashri government medical insurance to transgender persons and direct that the Aarogyashri includes the health challenges of COVID-19;
- Take appropriate action against those who are targeting the transgender persons by falsely labelling them in public as the potential carriers of HIV positive and COVID-19 and consequently direct the Respondents to protect the lives by providing appropriate security to the transgender persons in all public places;
- Place moratorium on the collection of rents till the end of June free of interest and late payment penalty fees and pass orders directing that landlords that they should not evict transgender persons from existing rental premises for non-payment of rent during the present period.
Additionally, in Interim Application No. 1 of 2020, it was prayed to the Hon’ble High Court to direct the Respondents to provide proper health care, free of cost to all transgender persons undergoing sex re-assignment.
After proper consideration of the said petition, the division bench comprising of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy directed Mr. B.S Prasad, Advocate General to accept the notice on behalf of the Respondents and thereby directed the Respondents to furnish a status report regarding the number of transgender persons living in major cities of the states, the steps taken by the government to ensure proper supply of food and medicines to the transgender persons and the NGOs with which the government is coordinating in order to ensure the proper supply of the mentioned commodities through these NGO’s. It was further directed that all the abovementioned commodities shall be supplied free of cost to the transgender community without demanding any ration card/ white card etc.
The present petition is listed for the next hearing on 11.05.2020.