Assam recently appointed its first ever transgender judge to the national Lok Adalat. Swati Bidhan Baruah has been appointed among 20-member judges by the Kamrup (metro) district legal service authority. Earlier, West Bengal and Maharashtra have appointed members of the transgender community as judges.

The appointment brings relief to 26-year-old Swati who had filed a PIL in Gauhati High Court last year to vouch for her rights. She will now act as a mediator in pre-litigation cases related to finance companies.

Hope for the community

Baruah’s appointment as a member judge in the Lok Adalat came as a hope to over 5,500 transgender people in Assam who have regularly faced discrimination. New Indian Express reported, “The Bench will be presided over by retired district and sessions judge H Ali Hazarika and the Lok Adalat will be held on the premises of Kamrup (Metro) district and sessions judge in Guwahati.”

“I hope this will make people realise that transgenders are not untouchables and the stigma we are facing is because of lack of a policy for welfare of the community.”

Baruah told The Telegraph, “I hope this will make people realise that transgenders are not untouchables and the stigma we are facing is because of lack of a policy for welfare of the community. Transgenders are still taunted in public places and even beaten up by the police. That needs to stop and society should make us feel part of it.”

In 2012, she had moved the Bombay High Court due to her family’s opposition to her decision to undergo a sex reassignment. Baruah underwent the surgery after getting a clearance from the high court at an expenditure of Rs 5 lakh. Later, she changed her name to Swati.

Other appointments

West Bengal appointed Joyita Mondal as the country’s first transgender judge in July last year. In a landmark move, she was appointed as a member judge during a national Lol Adalat at Islampur in North Dinajpur district.

In February this year, Maharashtra appointed the state’s first transgender judge Vidya Kamble. She became a member judge in a Lok Adalat in Nagpur.

Read: Transgender Women Who Are Trailblazers In Their Fields

Picture Credit: time8.in

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.