The Madras High Court has sought a response from the Tamil Nadu government on considering persons who have applied to the transgender board to be entitled to receive the cash relief announced by the government, despite not having ration cards.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy noted, “The state should consider whether all applicants who have applied to the Transgender Board in the State by May 31 (and not beyond) may be considered as transgenders to obtain the benefit announced by the State and extended already to some of the recognized transgenders.”
The bench was hearing a petition filed by Grace Banu, a transgender rights activist, featuring the issue that transgenders not holding ration cards have not received the Covid-19 cash relief amount of Rs 4,000 announced to be extended to all rice ration card holders by the Government.
The petition averred that there are more than 50,000 transgender persons in the State, though the available government data shows only 11,449 transgender persons, of whom only 2,541 had been issued with ration cards. It is further stated that the restriction of the financial aid only to ration card holders would lead to exclusion of many transgender persons who do not possess ration cards due to varied reasons including a delay on the part of the Civil Supplies Department in issuing these cards.
After hearing the pleas, the Advocate General on behalf of the state notified that the state has agreed to extend the benefit to all transgender persons irrespective of whether they have the registration cards. the State submitted before the Court that only 2956 transgenders have been provided with the first lot of cash relief and there are a further 8493 transgender persons who are entitled to receive the same benefit.
Advocate general also stated that,
“The State may not insist on strict registration documents or identity proof, the grant should not be abused and some form of recording the name and address of the beneficiary should be followed."
To this court remarked that,
"Since the State has agreed to extend the benefit to all transgenders in the State irrespective of whether they are registered or not, an appropriate modality should be worked by which the transgenders receive the benefit and yet, the system is not misused."
The matter will now appear three weeks hence on July 9, 2021, for the petitioner to indicate whether any genuine transgender has been left out.
Case Name: Grace Banu v. State of Tamil Nadu)
Case: - W.P.No.12035 of 2021