HC asks Assam Govt to set up Transgender wing at Guwahati Medical College
Guwahati: The Guwahati High Court has asked the Assam Health and Family Welfare Department to open a separate wing at Guwahati Medical College (GMC) for the treatment of the Transgender Community in the State.
The court has also asked the counsel for the State Government to inform the court about the existing schemes of the State, if any, to look after the health issues of the community.
A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Manash Ranjan Pathak has also asked the Central Government to provide the court with a list of beneficiaries under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, who are members of the transgender community from Assam.
This comes following a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by transgender rights activist Swati Bidhan Baruah. In the PIL that goes back to 2018, Baruah raised the issues relating to health and medical facilities for the members of the transgender community.
As per the latest media report by Live law, the petitioner demanded the inclusion of the transgender community as beneficiaries under the Centre's Ayushmaan Bharat Scheme. This centrally sponsored scheme provides the low-income population in India with subsidized healthcare facilities.
The petitioner pointed out that despite the Supreme Court's clear directions in the case of National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India to provide the transgender community with benefits of socially and economically backward class, the Government has failed to take appropriate steps.
During the last hearing on 22.03.2021, after listening to the petitioner in person, the Court ordered the counsel appearing for the Central Government to provide "a list of beneficiaries under the Ayushmaan Bharat Yojana who are members of the transgender community from Assam" within two weeks.
The bench further directed the counsel appearing for the State Government to inform the Court about,
"How soon a separate wing for the treatment of the transgender community can be opened in Guwahati Medical College and Hospital and whether the State Government has any scheme which looks after the health issues of members of the transgender community."
The case has been scheduled for the next hearing on 07.04.2021.