New Delhi: A PIL in the Delhi High Court on Monday sought direction to authorities to construct separate washrooms for the third gender on the ground that absence of separate public toilets for transgenders make them prone to sexual assault and harassment. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notices and sought responses of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Delhi government, New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Municipal Corporations of East, South and North Delhi on the petition which submitted that absence of gender-neutral toilets goes against the directions of the Supreme Court.
The counsel for the authorities sought time to seek instructions and file their replies after which the court listed the matter for further hearing on September 13. The petition filed by final year law student Jasmine Kaur Chhabra said the central government has released funds but no separate toilets have been made for the transgender or third gender community in Delhi. It further said Mysore, Bhopal and Ludhiana have already built separate public washrooms for them but the national capital is still seen nowhere taking such an initiative.
There are no separate toilet facilities for transgenders, they have to use male toilets where they are prone to sexual assault and harassment. Discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation or gender identity, therefore, impairs equality before law and equal protection of law and violates Article 14 of the Constitution, said the petition, filed through advocate Rupinder Pal Singh. The plea said they do not even have any remedy available for the same as there are no provisions in the IPC that protects transgenders from sexual assault by any male, female or another transgender.
People, including men, women and transgenders, feel uncomfortable and hesitate when the third gender uses the washrooms which are made for others, the plea said, adding that this also violates the right to privacy’ of the third gender. It said every human being, of any gender, has some basic human rights including facilities for using separate toilets and it is not fundamentally or morally correct to ask any specific gender to use a public toilet which is made for another gender.
The PIL said the transgender community consists of 7-8 per cent of the total population of the country which makes it necessary for the authorities to provide same facilities and equal treatment to them in this regard.