Rano and Rajni Rawat Kinnar were transgender persons who filed separate petitions before the High court of Uttarakhand. The court adjudicated both the cases together as the issues were similar. The petitioners sought protection for their right to life and liberty from the court.
ISSUES & DECISION:
The issue before the Court was whether there had been a violation of the fundamental right to life and liberty of the two transgender petitioners.
Court recognised the marginalisation of the transgender community and decided to extend the scope of the petition to address these concerns. It cited the Supreme Court decision in NALSA vs Union of India case to state that transgender persons had a right to equality under the Indian Constitution (Article 14).
The Court defined transgender persons and recognised their right to life, equality, non-discrimination, liberty, and privacy. It noted the discrimination and marginalisation faced by transgender persons in seeking social services, education, and employment.
The Court noted that the government of Uttarakhand had failed to implement the Supreme Court’s directions, laid down in NALSA vs Union of India. In other words, the government had not put in place any social welfare measures to protect transgender rights. Thus, the Court directed the government of Uttarakhand to take steps to protect transgender rights. Some of the key directions were:
- Implementing reservations in education and public employment
- Providing free access to public spaces
- Providing free medical and housing facilities
- Registering cases against any persons forcibly removing transgender persons from their family
- Developing social awareness programs
- Forming a state transgender welfare board within six months of the judgment
This was the first case in the State of Uttarakhand that recognised the marginalisation of the transgender community. The Court affirmed transgender rights and provided detailed directions for their realisation. The case was considered especially significant for its direction on introducing reservations for transgender persons in education and employment.