Transgender people are proving their mettle in every field. Now, Joyita Mondal Mahi, a 29-year-old from the community, has become Bengal’s first transgender judge of a Lok Adalat.
Before being appointed for this post, Mondal had been working for the welfare and development of her marginalised community. In 2015, Mondal dedicated herself to community development by becoming a part of projects that involved setting up of an old-age home for HIV-positive people and formation of patient welfare committees.
I was appointed because I am a social worker and not because I am a transgender person – Joyita Mondal Mahi
“My performance drew the attention of the district administration and I was recommended for this appointment,” said Mondal.
Speaking to HT about her appointment, she says, “Law says that Lok Adalats can appoint social workers with established credibility as judges. I was appointed because I am a social worker and not because I am a transgender person. I cross-checked with several national associations and NGOs but none could say for sure whether any transgender person had earlier been appointed as a Lok Adalat judge.”
“In most of the cases, I suggested negotiation which the litigants found acceptable. In one specific case, I ordered the bank authorities to confiscate a mortgaged property and recover the loan because the borrower simply refused to sit for talks, ” said Mondal after completing the first day at work as judge at Islampur in the North Dinajpur district.
She also gave a glimpse of her journey by mentioning that she initially used to confine herself to working for the rights and development of the transgender and LGBT community, but later expanded her ambit when she felt the desire to work for all.
Lok Adalats are convened once or twice a month and so, her appointment will not thwart her from continuing her regular work.
“There is a monthly honorarium of Rs 1,500 for every session I attend. I am also entitled to travel expenses etc. But the association, responsibility and honour are more important than the money,” said Mondal.
Joyita Mondal Mahi’s appointment as Lok Adalat’s judge is testimony to the fact that the foundation of leadership relies on one’s dedication, sincerity and conscientiousness and has nothing to do with one’s gender.
Picture Credit: Facebook