A Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Kerala High Court by Aneera Kabeer, a trans activist seeking various reliefs relating to transgender people during the period of COVID-19 threat. The writ petition sought for measures by the state government for “the distribution of food ration, medicines, access to medical treatment, etc. to the transgender community in Kerala.” It contended that “the Transgender persons have been specifically discriminated against in the grant of relief measures during lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 and the transgender community in Kerala including the petitioner continuously suffer a violation of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.”
ISSUE & DECISION:
The Court heard arguments from both sides and passed directions to the Respondents that necessary steps shall be taken to ensure issuance of gender identity card and the ration card to transgender persons. It was also directed that it must be ensured that medicines are supplied free of cost to the members of the community after showing medical prescription. The Court also directed the Petitioner to approach the District Authority and provide necessary articles and medicines to such persons and their grievances shall be alleviated.
A series of litigations have been taken up during the COVID-19 crisis. This judgment realised the importance of proof of identity in obtaining welfare schemes such as rations and medicines. It has reiterated the principles of NALSA v. Union of India in a way so as to translate the
rights into a reality, and to avoid practical difficulties.