Equality Behind Bars: Transgender Rights Advocates Appeal for Separate Prison Toilets

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has called for responses from the governments of Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh regarding a plea seeking separate prison facilities for transgender individuals. The plea, filed in the case of Sunpreet Singh v UOI & Ors, prompted a notice from a Bench consisting of Acting Chief Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Lapita Banerji. The matter has been scheduled for a hearing on July 29.

The court ordered the inclusion of the State of Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh as respondents, directing the Secretaries of their respective Home Departments to be impleaded. An order dated May 8 outlined these directives, emphasizing the importance of the issue at hand.

The plea draws upon the Supreme Court’s ruling in National Legal Services Authority v Union of India, affirming equal application of fundamental rights to transgender individuals under the Indian Constitution. Additionally, during the hearing, reference was made to the Patna High Court’s directive in Law Foundation v State Of Bihar, instructing the Bihar government to implement national guidelines for housing transgender individuals in jails.

Last August, the Punjab and Haryana High Court installed separate toilets for transgender individuals on its campus, following advocacy efforts initiated by advocate Maninderjit Singh, who wrote to the High Court administration in 2021 advocating for this change.

Following this, he sent a letter in 2022 to Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, urging the provision of separate toilets for transgender individuals in all judicial buildings and Constitutional courts nationwide.

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About the Author: Payal Singh