The Supreme Court of India. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Sep 26 : A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court to seek equal protection for the transgenders from sexual crimes under the Indian Penal Code, in the absence of any specific penal provision to protect them against these offences.

The plea moved by advocate Reepak Kansal referred to the IPC provisions of 1860 vintage and recent amendments in statute and other laws on sexual offences and claimed that they did not provide any protection to the "transgenders, transsexuals, 'kinnar' and eunuchs".

The petitioner has made the ministries of law and justice, social justice and empowerment as parties.

The petitioner urged the apex court to issue direction to the Centre to make appropriate modification/interpretation of sections/provisions of the IPC dealing with sexual assault to include transgenders, transsexuals, 'kinnar' and eunuchs in the definitions in relevant laws.

The plea contended that despite the apex court declaring transgenders as third gender, yet no provisions have been made for their welfare.

"The Indian laws are for men and women. Therefore, considering transgenders neither men nor women, they generally cannot get justice from authorities due to lack of law/Act. The third gender is being deprived of many rights and privileges which other persons enjoy as citizens of this country," said the petitioner.

The petitioner argued that the State cannot discriminate against them on the ground of gender, in violation of Articles 14 to 16 and 21 of the Constitution.

"The legislature introduced a Bill in 2018 which also failed to deal with sexual offences against transgenders and give them equal protection... there is no legal protection to the transgenders in case of sexual offences against them." The petitioner argued that the human rights violation of transgenders due to denying registration of sexual assault cases by authorities is common in India, while discrimination on the same ground is unconstitutional.

"Statistics documenting transgender people's experience of sexual violence indicate shockingly high levels of sexual abuse and assault. Some reports estimate that transgender survivors may experience sexual assault up to 66 per cent, often coupled with physical assault or abuse," the plea said.

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