Judgement of the day: National Legal Service Authority v. Union of India


The said case is regarding legal gender recognition of transgender people, and whether the lack of legal measures to cater to the needs of persons not identifying clearly as a male or a female contradicts the Constitution. Pre-existing Indian law only recognized the binary genders of male and female, and lacked provisions with regard to the rights of transgender people.

The Hindu mythology, Vedic and Puranic literatures recognized them as the third gender and treated them with great respect. They played an important role in the royal courts and were considered to have the power to give blessings. It was under British rule the status of the Transgender community reversed .As a direct consequence of the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871, the said legislation deemed the entire community as innately criminal. Even though the act has been repealed now. The present status still needs to be improved.

The cruelty faced by the transgender community, from the society at large, is a violation of their many fundamental rights including those under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

There were two writ petitions filed to protect the rights and identity of the transgender community:

1. NALSA constituted under the Legal Services Authority Act, 1997, filed a writ petition

2. Poojaya Mata Nasib Kaur Ji Women Welfare Society, a registered association, has also filed a Writ Petition, seeking similar reliefs in respect of the Kinnar community, a transgender community.


The Court has directed the Centre and State Governments to grant legal recognition as provided under Article 14,15, 19(1)(a), and 21 of gender identity whether it be male, female or the third-gender.

Not only that the Central and State Governments have been directed to take proper measures to provide adequate medical care , provide them separate public toilets and other facilities and have been asked to provide the community social welfare schemes .

Centre and State Governments are asked to take steps to create public awareness so that Transgender people will feel safe and secure and not be treated as untouchables.

The transgender community is to be treated as a socially and economically backward classes.

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