SC Issues Notice To Government Challenging Constitutional Validity Of Section 18 of The Transgender Persons (Protection Of Rights) Act, 2019

SC Issues Notice To Government Challenging Constitutional Validity Of Section 18 of The Transgender Persons (Protection Of Rights) Act, 2019

A divisional bench consisting of Justice Nageswara Rao and Justice BR Gavai have issued notice to the government, based on a PIL filed by Trans activist, Kajal Mangal Mukhi through advocate Shantanu Kumar. The notice issued deals with the constitutional validity of section 18 of The Transgender Persons (Protection Of Rights) Act, 2019. The notice has been clubbed with similar issues on the rights of the transgender community.

Section 18 of the Act states offences and penalties against a transgender person such as forced labour against transgender, denial for accessing or using public places to which other people have access, forcing them to leave their residence, endangering their life by causing physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse. The penalty provided is six months which can be extended to 2 years with a fine.

The PIL argues that Section 18 only mentions discrimination of a specific character and does not mention the widespread discrimination that transgender people encounter regularly. It is evident from the fact that the penalty imposed on committing offences against transgender people is less severe in comparison to cisgender people as stated in the Indian Penal Code,1860. Section 18 is discriminatory and against the established principles of natural justice which further violates the fundamental rights of transgender. The main aim of the PIL is to issue guidelines or orders to eliminate the loopholes that are there in the Act. To implement an effective legal framework for the welfare of the transgender community.

It also states that the punishment provided to people for committing offences against them is less severe as a result which further does not reduce the crime against them and has further led to ineffective enactment. It has been stated that the Transgender Person (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 lacks a sufficient definition of the offences and that the current clause is grossly inadequate because it does not specify the exact non-consensual conduct that is intended to be prohibited.

To bring about a law to punish the individuals who commit offences against transgender people was much in demand. But the Transgender Persons Bill 2016 introduced by the government in Lok Sabha was opposed by the transgender community itself, later on, it was referred to a  Standing Committee which further heavily criticized the Act. Eventually, the Bill was passed and it soon became an Act.

Case Name: Kajal Mangal Mukhi vs Union of India & Anr