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143 toilets constructed for transgenders in Delhi, govt tells HC

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New Delhi, May 13 (PTI) The Delhi government has informed the high court here that 143 toilets have been constructed in the national capital for exclusive use by transgender persons.

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Delhi government’s social welfare department, in a status report, told a bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet PS Arora that 223 toilets are under construction and the work for 30 more is yet to begin.

The government also said there are 1,584 toilets meant for persons with disabilities that are designated for the use of transgender persons.

The Delhi High Court took on record the government’s January status report and closed the proceedings in a PIL filed by Jasmine Kaur Chhabra, seeking direction for constructing separate washrooms for the third gender on the ground that their absence makes transgender population prone to sexual assault and harassment.

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“Making the respondents bound by the statement and undertaking given in the status report and action taken reports, the present writ petition is closed,” the bench said.

During the hearing, advocate Rupinder Pal Singh, representing petitioner Kaur, submitted that he has no objection to the PIL being closed.

He said that the Delhi government is bound by the undertaking and statements given in the status report and action taken reports.

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The counsel for the social welfare department had earlier said that a total of 102 such toilets were built and 194 more were under construction.

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which functions under the union ministry of home affairs, had informed the court that 12 toilets for transgender persons were operational in the area under its jurisdiction and tenders for constructing 79 more were awarded.

The area under the NDMC is commonly referred to as Lutyens' Delhi.

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The PIL has said since the transgender community constitutes 7-8 per cent of the total population of the country, the authorities must necessarily provide toilets for them, and ensure they are treated equally.

The petition has said Mysore, Bhopal, and Ludhiana have already started taking action and have built separate public washrooms for them but the national capital was still not seen taking such an initiative.

“There are no separate toilet facilities for transgenders, they have to use male toilets where they are prone to sexual assault and harassment. Discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation or gender identity, therefore, impairs equality before the law and equal protection of the law and violates Article 14 of the Constitution,” the petition has said.

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People, including men, women, and transgenders, feel uncomfortable and hesitate when the third gender uses the washrooms which are made for others, the plea has asserted, adding that this also violates the 'right to privacy' of the third gender.

In 2022, the Delhi government had informed the high court that 505 toilets meant for persons with disabilities have been designated for the use of transgenders and creation of separate washrooms for them will be fast-tracked.

The high court had earlier told the government wherever new public spaces were being developed, there should be separate toilets for transgenders. PTI SKV NB

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