MBBS doctor files PIL seeking separate hostel for Trans Students, HC issues notice
Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has sought to know the stand of the State Government and other concerned authorities regarding their stand on the plea filed by an MBBS doctor, who sought directions to provide separate hostel facilities for transgender students in higher educational institutes.
Referring to the hardships and harassments that the transgender students face the MBBS student, who is a student or a private medical college at Manipal, Udupi further demanded appropriate directions to all the higher educational institutes including medical colleges to include the option of transgender in the gender identity section.
Taking note of the plea, a High Court division bench comprising of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and S R Krishna Kumar issued notice in the matter and listed the issue for further hearing on June 6.
As per the latest media report by The Hindu, the petitioner identified her gender as female and she had undergone gender-affirming medical and surgical treatment. She mentioned in the PIL that several transgender students drop out of higher educational institutes as they get harassed in the hostels.
In fact, she referred to her own story in this context. She submitted before the bench that she had to face hardships in the hostel when she joined the course in 2015. Since the trans students get accommodated to hostels not on the basis of their gender identity but based on their biological sex, most transgender students end up in hostels belonging to opposite gender.
"One of the main reasons why transgender students often are forced to drop out of higher education is because of harassment faced in hostels by them as they are not accommodated in hostels based on their gender identity but based on their sex assigned at birth and hence are displaced," read the PIL filed through Advocate Rohan Kothari.
Similar thing happened to the petitioner. Since she was accommodated in a boys' hostel, she was allegedly subjected to ragging, abuse, and humiliation in the hostel. As a result, she had no choice but to shift to a private accommodation.
Referring to her own hardships, the petitioner further submitted before the High Court, how only after undergoing gender reassignment surgery that she got recognized for her status from the college authorities.
Live Law adds that emphasizing on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020, the petitioner pointed out that Rule 10 provided for the appropriate government for creating institutional infrastructure which includes but not limited to temporary shelters, short stay homes and accommodation, choice of male/female or separate wards in hospitals and washrooms in the establishments within two years from the date when the rules came into force.
However, pointing out that until now no such rules have been framed for providing housing and hostel facilities to transgender students, the plea mentioned, "Though the said legislation addresses inclusive education, it does not provide for any measures for inclusive housing and hostel accommodation in higher education."
Claiming that Punjab University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) have already announced providing separate hostel for self-identified transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming students, the plea also referred to the Supreme Court judgment in the case of NALSA vs Union of India and stated, "Just like any other student, transgender students who identify as male/female are entitled to be accommodated in the hostels of their chosen gender n higher educational institution of the state."
Further mentioning that refusing to accommodate transgender students on the basis of their self-identified gender would violate the rights guaranteed under Article 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution of India, the plea sought a direction upon the authorities in this regard, so that higher education institutes allow the option of transgender in the admission and hostel forms along with the male/female options.
Apart from this, the plea also sought directions upon concerned authorities so that transgender students belonging to all higher educational institutes in Karnataka get to be accommodated in hostels as per their self determined gender identity.
Barsha completed her MA from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.