Litigant also insists on holding special vaccination camps for them
Transgender rights activist Grace Banu has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the State government to provide the COVID-19 relief amount of ₹4,000 even to transgender persons who do not possess ration cards. The litigant also insisted upon holding special camps to vaccinate transgender persons after dispelling all their doubts regarding the supposed adverse effects of vaccination.
The PIL petition is expected to be listed before the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy on Thursday. In an affidavit, filed through her counsel C. Prabhu, the litigant claimed that there were more than 50,000 transgender persons in the State though the available government data shows that there were only 11,449 transgender persons of whom 2,541 had been issued with ration cards.
Pointing out that the government had announced a COVID-19 cash relief amount of ₹4,000 to all rice ration card holders and had begun to distribute first instalment of ₹2,000 to each of them, the petitioner said that the restriction of the financial aid only to ration card holders would lead to exclusion of many transgender persons who do not possess ration cards due to varied reasons including delay on the part of the Civil Supplies Department in issuing these cards.
Very few ID cards issued
The petitioner recalled that during the first wave of COVID-19, the State government had distributed cash relief of ₹1,000 to not only the rice ration card holders but also to transgender persons without ration cards. The litigant also claimed that hardly any transgender person had been issued with an identity card ever since the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2019 and the statutory rules framed thereunder in 2020 came in to force.
Even before the coming into force of the 2019 enactment and the statutory rules, only 6,553 transgender persons had been issued with identity cards in the State and the others could not be expected to obtain ration cards without producing identity cards, the petitioner said.
It was also brought to the notice of the court that the transgender persons had several doubts over COVID-19 vaccination since they were either on hormone therapy or undergoing sex reassignment surgery. Therefore, some awareness programmes must be conducted to dispel all their doubts on vaccines, the litigant insisted.
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