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Over 500 Toilets Meant For PwD Can Be Used By Transgenders: Delhi Govt To HC

The Delhi government said that nine new public toilets have been constructed, and the construction of 56 more toilets solely for transgender/third gender persons is underway.

The Kejriwal government has informed the Delhi High Court that 505 public toilets in the national capital meant for persons with disabilities (PwD) have been designated for use by transgender persons.

Responding to a petition seeking directions to build separate public toilets for transgender/ third gender persons in the city, the Delhi government said that nine new public toilets have been constructed, and the construction of 56 more toilets solely for transgender/ third gender persons is underway.

Separate Toilets For Transgender People

In a report filed last week, the Delhi government said that "earnest efforts are being made to ensure work on the creation of separate toilets for transgender people and that it is completed on a fast-track basis".

Taking note of the report, a Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Subramonium Prasad granted six weeks to the Delhi government to file a fresh status report on the new toilets constructed for transgenders/ third gender individuals. The court has now listed the matter for further hearing on November 14, The Hindu reported.

The High Court was hearing a petition by Jasmine Kaur Chhabra, a final-year law student at the time of filing her plea last year, seeking direction to construct separate toilets for the third gender as the absence of separate washrooms for the transgender community makes them prone to sexual assault and harassment.

Her petition stated it was not fundamentally or morally right to ask anyone of a specific gender to use a public toilet made for any other gender.

Third Gender Faces Harassment, Trauma

The plea said the Supreme Court, in its 2014 judgment 'National State Legal Authority vs. Union of India' recognised the third gender, which consists of transgender people. "The Centre and the State governments should take proper steps to provide medical care to transgender people in hospitals and also provide them with separate public toilets and other facilities," the top court had said.

It said the third gender faces harassment, trauma and agony when using washrooms built for males or females. This is a serious and concerning issue that the people of the transgender community face daily, SC said.

"When the third gender uses the toilets made for male and female, then their right to privacy is violated," it added.

"Bhopal, Ludhiana and Mysore have already started taking action on such issues and have built separate public washrooms for them and Delhi is still seen nowhere taking such an initiative," the petition had said.

The plea said that there are no separate toilet facilities for transgender people, so they have to use male toilets, where they are subjected to sexual assault and harassment. Moreover, the plea highlighted that no remedy is available for the same as no provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) protect transgender individuals from sexual assault by any male, female or another transgender.

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