Over the absence of a Transgender Welfare Board and implementation of the act to protect their rights in the national capital, the Delhi Commission for Women on Friday issued recommendations to the Centre and the Delhi government.
The Government of India passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act in 2019 and the Central Rules in 2020. However, the state rules for Delhi are yet to be notified, the women’s panel said in a statement.
In response to a notice by the panel, the Delhi government said the approved draft rules for the city were pending notification from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
It also informed the commission that the formation of the board has also been approved and now they are awaiting notification from the home ministry.
The commission’s recommendations were marked to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Delhi government’s social welfare department.
In its recommendation to the ministry, the commission directed to expedite the notification of the rules and the welfare board so that steps could be taken to ensure the welfare and empowerment of trans persons in Delhi.
The commission pointed out that 12 states, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, had already set up Transgender Welfare Boards and added that Delhi should not lag behind.
The women’s panel also recommended to the city government immediately launch schemes for the welfare of trans persons and set up shelter homes for those in need of the state’s care and protection.
The panel said it also identified several lacunae in the implementation of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, especially in issuing to trans persons ”certificates of identity” that can be used to avail government welfare schemes.
The commission had issued notices to all district magistrates on this issue and found that only 76 certificates were issued in Delhi in the past three years. However, according to the 2011 census, there are 4,213 trans persons in the national capital.
It also noted that most districts received very few applications seeking certificates.
The commission also noticed significant pendency of applications for seeking transgender certificates of identity in certain districts even though the Central Rules guarantee that the same should be issued within 30 days of receipt of the application.
The panel also observed that most applications were rejected after considerable delay on “arbitrary and frivolous grounds” such as the applicant not belonging to the same district or a signature or document being missing from the form.
The panel also noted that in all districts barring one, there is no separate staff deployed to work specifically on transgender applications. The commission also observed a lack of monitoring of the issue by the Delhi Government and a serious mismatch of data between the state and the districts.
During its interaction with the transgenders, they cited instances which reflected a bias and lack of sensitivity of certain government officers and staff towards transgenders.
Terming such behaviour as demeaning, unacceptable and highly discriminatory, the panel has recommended that the government must sensitise its staff and also refrain from addressing verification of transgenders as that is not mentioned in the Central Rules.
In its comprehensive report, the DCW has recommended that Delhi Government must make urgent efforts to advertise the benefits guaranteed to transgenders under the Act.
It also said the Delhi Government must streamline the process as well as monitor the performance of the District Magistrates on the issue to ensure swifter disposal of applications.
(With PTI inputs)