In order to improve the status of the transgender people in India, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched a portal in 2020 which gave the transgender people a prerogative to issue identity cards that defined their self-perceived identity. This step came as a follow up after the Parliament passed a bill addressed to the protection of transgender people known as Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
The portal for issuing an identity card for transgender people substantiates the guarantee that the act recognises the self-perceived identity of the transgender persons. This pan-India scheme not only focuses on the provision of an identity card but also aiding the transgender people with special homes in every state. So far, the govt has initiated 12 shelter homes called Garima Greh across 9 states.
However, despite a span of almost three years ever since the portal was launched, there have a plethora of internal complaints that have been afloat due to the repeated neglects on the part of the states. On one hand, recently the validation of transgender identity for AADHAAR cards was a major relief for the population, however, on the other hand there are also some states which haven’t even issued a transgender ID for its people.
Transgender Identity Cards Issue In West Bengal
While on one hand, Anuprabha Das Mazumder became the first transgender person in West Bengal to acquire a transgender Aadhaar card in September last year. On the other hand, recently, in a petition filed by a resident of Calcutta, Samrat Bhattacharyya, who claimed to have submitted an application on the Nation Portal in the month of March last year. However, until this day there hasn’t been any initiative taken by the authorities to issues his identity card. Apart from Bhattacharyya, there have been 53 valid application pending in total in West Bengal region. These statistics have been presented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment before the Lok Sabha.
Following these claims, the Kolkata High Court cited that it is incumbent upon the District Magistrate to issue the identity card for the petitioners. Complying to the law, the District Magistrate must bear the rules enshrined in Article 14 of the Indian Constitution which enlightened the act of justice and equality towards all citizens of the country. On the contrary, the state justified its statement in the court that until November last year the state had not officially proclaimed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020, and hence could not comply with the rules earlier.
Therefore, in a formal statement Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya said that “It is expected that within the said time frame (latest by February 02, 2023), the respondents shall process all similar pending valid applications before it and take decisions thereon.”