Kerala HC seeks reply on Trans-Woman’s plea seeking Rs 1 mn Compensation from State

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday sought a response from the state government on a petition filed by a trans-woman seeking Rs 10 lakh compensation from the state for denying her gender-affirming care in prison.

The counsel for the Kerala government informed the court that the jail authorities will be directed to provide the petitioner with all necessary medical care.

“Considering that the matter relates to the treatment of the petitioner who is in custody, and the submission of the learned counsel of the petitioner that she will file the required affidavit within one week, the registry is directed to number the petition.

“The learned public prosecutor submitted that necessary directions will be issued to the prison superintendent of the sub-jail in Kakkanad to provide necessary medical aid to the petitioner,” the court said in its interim order.

The petitioner trans-woman was accused in a case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act), for allegedly possessing 193 gm of MDMA.

The petitioner, a sex worker, claimed that she had no prior acquaintance with the first accused in the case, and was unaware that he was carrying any banned substance.

She also said that since November 29, 2023, the day she was arrested, all gender-affirming treatments including hormone therapy were denied by the authorities, which has affected her mental well-being.

The petitioner in April approached the trial court for medical bail, but the report called for by the court from the jail authorities has not been submitted yet.

She then pointed out that she was denied her rights according to the provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act.

The petitioner added that since she is an under-trial prisoner and not a convict, she has the right to be presumed innocent and hence she should be paid Rs 10 lakh compensation by the state government for the denial of medical treatment, causing her mental trauma.

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Besides the compensation, she also sought directions to the state government to formulate a sex workers’ policy in line with the Supreme Court’s guidelines.

After hearing the arguments, the high court posted the case for next hearing on May 17.

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