The Centre on Monday told the Delhi High Court that a communication has been issued to all the states and union territories to include data of transgender prisoners under a separate gender in prison statistics reports from 2020 onwards.
The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma in response to a PIL seeking a direction to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to “make requisite policy and format amendment to include the data on transgender prisoners” in the prison statistics reports.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma Jalan placed on record a letter written to the states and UTs, according to which, “NCRB intends to include transgender in the gender classification of prisoners from PSI-2020 onwards. Accordingly, gender classification of the prisoners will be classified as Male, Female and Transgender in the PSU proforma and Annexures”.
The NCRB, as per the communication, has now directed the state and UT authorities to direct the concerned officials “to prepare for collection of transgender data in the gender classification of prisoners while collecting data for Prison Statistics India-2020”. The ASG said that the communication was issued on December 4 and therefore, nothing remains in the petition.
The data for NCRB’s annual publication ‘Prison Statistics, India’ earlier included data on prisoners under two categories – Male and Female.
The division bench on December 1 had asked NCRB to inform it about any decision regarding the demand for inclusion of transgenders as a separate third gender in its annual report on prison statistics. It was argued in the plea that it finds its basis in a Supreme Court ruling “wherein it has unequivocally given legal recognition to the transgenders, in addition to declaring their right to self-determination of gender”.
“Till date, only two genders appear in the Prisons Statistics India report published by NCRB i.e. male and female, to the complete exclusion of the third gender,” stated the plea, adding, however, transgenders have been recognized as third gender in other publications like ‘Crimes in India’ and ‘Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India’ by NCRB.
The petition also argued that the absence of proper statistics on the number of transgender prisoners in India raises grave concerns on the treatement of such prisoners. “It is not uncommon to learn about incidents of atrocities in jails with transgenders, and without the transparency/recognition of transgenders in the Prison Statistics India, these atrocities are only likely to increase exponentially,” it contended.
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