Over 100 toilets built exclusively for transgender community in Delhi: HC
People, including men, women, and transgenders, feel uncomfortable and hesitate when the third gender uses the washrooms which are made for others, the plea asserted.
NEW DELHI: The city government on Monday informed the Delhi High Court that as many as 102 toilets have been built exclusively for the use of transgender persons in the national capital while 194 more are under construction.
The submission before the bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma came during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) plea seeking direction for constructing separate washrooms for the third gender as lack of such facilities makes the transgender population prone to sexual assault and harassment.
The social welfare department of the government apprised that efforts are being made and "further action will be taken expeditiously" in the matter.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which functions under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, submitted before the high court that 12 toilets for transgender people are operational in the area under its jurisdiction and tenders for the construction of 79 more have been awarded. The area is commonly referred to as Lutyens’ Delhi.
The plea, filed through advocate Rupinder Pal Singh, has said, 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 grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, therefore, impairs equality before the law and equal protection of the law and violates Article 14 of the Constitution.
People, including men, women, and transgenders, feel uncomfortable and hesitate when the third gender uses the washrooms which are made for others, the plea has asserted, adding this also violates the ‘right to privacy’ of the third gender.
The petitioner also highlighted that Mysore, Bhopal, and Ludhiana have already started taking action and have built separate public washrooms for them but Delhi is still not seen taking such an initiative.
In a previous hearing, the high court had ordered expeditious construction of public toilets for transgender people and said it would pass an order on the petition, observing that “substantial progress” has been made by the authorities.
“We will dispose it,” the bench, also comprising Justice Sanjeev Narula, said.
On March 14, the high court warned in case of non-compliance with its direction for the construction of public toilets for transgenders, it will order the personal appearance of city officials before it.
It had noted citing the status report filed by the city government that while the process of construction of such toilets was stated to be underway none were complete.
The PIL has said since the transgender community constitutes 7-8 per cent of the total population of the country, the authorities must necessarily provide toilets for them, and ensure they are treated equally.