Centre asks states to take all measures required under Transgender Act, 2019; tells them to constitute Transgender Protection Cell

The Central Government has written to all the States and Union Territories (UTs) asking them to take steps to give effect to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and the rules made thereunder.

A letter to this effect has been dispatched by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to the Chief Secretaries of all the states.

MHA, in particular, highlighted the requirement of setting up a Transgender Protection Cell under the charge of the District Magistrate in each district and state-level cell under the Director General of Police, to monitor cases of offences against transgender persons and ensure timely registration, investigation and prosecution of such offences.

It also asked the state governments to take necessary sensitisation programmes for the police and prison officials.

Eariler the Centre notified the constitution of a National Council for Transgender Persons as envisaged under the Act.

The contentious Transgender Bill, 2019 was passed by the Parliament on September 26, 2019. It had received the assent of the President on December 5, 2019. The said Act came into force from January 10, 2020.

Last year, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Central Government on a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Act as being violative of the right to life, privacy and equality of transpersons.

Petitioner Swati Bidhan Baruah, a transperson, had submitted before the court that the right to self-identification of gender identity was a fundamental right that formed part of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution. The Transgender Act, however, provided for a method of state-identification of transpersons by a process of certification by the District Magistrate. The Petitioner, therefore, submitted that this method was a disproportionate invasion into the right to privacy of transpersons and manifestly arbitrary.

Read MHA letter