Over 100 toilets constructed for transgenders in Delhi, govt tells HC

Over 100 toilets have been built for exclusive use by transgender people in the national capital, the city authorities informed the Delhi High Court on Monday.

The counsel for the social welfare department told a bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma that a total of 102 such toilets have been built and 194 more are under construction.

“Efforts are being made and further action will be taken expeditiously,” the counsel told the court.

The counsel for the New Delhi Municipal Council (MDMC), which functions under the union ministry of home affairs, informed the bench that 12 toilets for transgender people are operational in the area under its jurisdiction and tenders for construction of 79 more have been awarded. The area is commonly referred to as Lutyens’ Delhi.

The court was hearing 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.

The court, which had earlier ordered expeditious construction of public toilets for transgender people, said it will pass an order on the petition, observing that “substantial progress” has been made by the authorities.

“We will dispose it of,” the bench, also comprising Justice Sanjeev Narula, said.

On March 14, the high court had warned in case of non-compliance of its direction for construction of public toilets for transgenders, it will order personal appearance of city officials before it.

It had noted citing the status report filed by the city government that while the process of construction of such toilets was stated to be underway none were complete.

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.

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The petition said Mysore, Bhopal, and Ludhiana have already started taking action and have built separate public washrooms for them but the national capital is 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, filed through advocate Rupinder Pal Singh, has said.

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 this also violates the ‘right to privacy’ of the third gender.

Last year, 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.

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