Are Hijras and transgenders entitled to legal protection?

Before delving into the matter, just think where we see Hijras and transgenders in our day to day life?

They are usually seen at railway stations, or celebrating someone’s birthday Eve or any special occasion. They choose it at their own will but it doesn’t mean they’ll not get any benefit from the government. Earlier when in every competitive exam, you would be getting options to tick either male or female. But what about transgenders? Are they not supposed to sit for an exam?

Till this date, the ground reality is harsh, people don’t accept them as others. With the developing, the community of transgender are also evolving. They are just like any other human being but still treated alike.


Section 8 of Indian Penal Code


Section 8 of Indian Penal Code talks about gender. It states that the word ‘he’ is used for any person i.e male and female.

Here, the question arises whether Hijras and transgenders are considered as persons or not?

So, we will read the case law to understand the legal status of Hijras and transgenders.


National Legal Service Authority v. Union of India, AIR 2014 SC 1863


In this case, the Apex Court of India held that Hijras / Transgender are also included in the expression person and they are also entitled to get all other facilities just like male and female.


Direction given by the Court


The court in the aforementioned case, the court declared that –

  • Hijras, Eunuchs should be treated as third gender and their fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of Constitution of India shall be protected.
  • The court held that transgender should be given right to decide their self identity.
  • The Central Government and State Government should legally recognise them as other gender identities and they should be protected and treated equally like male and female.
  • The Centre and State Government are required to take steps for their upliftment and provide them reservation.
  • The Centre and State are also directed to provide separate HIV and other Medical facilities centres as Hijras / transgenders are prone to sexual health issues.
  • Apart from health issues, Centre and State Government should take action against the problems faced by them such as social pressure, fear, shame. Many a time, it’s observed that they were forced to commit sucide or they remain depressed.
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