Gauhati High Court
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Gauhati High Court Criticises Assam Government For Neglecting Transgender Welfare Laws

June 24, 2023

The Gauhati High Court has urged the Assam government to take a more proactive stance in implementing laws about the welfare and employment of transgender individuals.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Devashis Baruah heard a series of petitions concerning the welfare of transgender persons in Assam.

Activist and advocate Swati Bidhan Baruah, in her plea, highlighted that the recent recruitment drive for sub-inspector and constable positions in the Assam Police did not include a separate category for transgender individuals. Instead, they were grouped together with male candidates.

This led Chief Justice Mehta to criticize the State for its insensitive approach.

"Physical standards are the same - how can that can be done? You seem flustered and non-plussed. This is totally against what is mandated by law, not showing sensitiveness to the category as required. Because proceedings are too slack. We would say the response is not forthcoming at the desired pace, need to pull up your socks, okay?" Bar And Bench reported quoting Chief Justice Mehta.

The Gauhati High Court instructed the State to conduct further research and present a proposal for a draft action plan for future recruitment of community members by June 27, the date of the next hearing.

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During the hearing on Friday, Baruah also noted that no concrete steps had been taken toward establishing a transgender welfare board, which had been mandated in previous orders.

After reviewing an affidavit filed by the State, Chief Justice Mehta remarked that the government's submissions regarding this matter seemed unclear.

"This is very vague. What direction has been given (about the formation of the board)? The letter has been silent. Why should you be so vague? The simple direction could have been forwarded with the proposal," he remarked.

Baruah argued that mandatory boards and committees needed to be formed following the Supreme Court's NALSA judgment, which had not been done.

The Court was also informed that the recent police recruitment drive violated the glossary of terms recently issued by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.

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