The Supreme Court today said that the transgender community can’t be considered a separate caste.
The Supreme Court made the observation while hearing a request against the Bihar government’s decision to include the transgender community in the caste list as a separate category, and not as a separate caste.
Dismissing the petition, the bench headed by justice Sanjiv Khanna said that the Bihar government has provided a separate column for transgenders in the list so their data would be available to the State. “Transgender is never a caste. This has been taken care of. There are now 3 columns – male, female, and transgender. So data will be available,” the bench said.
The top court said that the transgenders can be given certain benefits as the third gender, but not as a separate caste.
People belonging to the community can be of any caste, the bench said.
“What you are wanting really is that transgender persons be treated as a separate caste. That may not be possible. They can be treated separately and conferred certain benefits, but not as a caste. Because there will be transgender persons from across the board – from different castes,” the Supreme Court said.
Bihar has become the first state to release data from a caste-based survey. The report indicates 36 per cent of the population are from Extremely Backward Classes, 27.1 per cent are from Backward Classes, 19.7 per cent are from Scheduled Castes and 1.7 per cent are from Scheduled Tribes. The general population is 15.5 per cent. The state’s total population is over 13.1 crore.
In August, after the exercise was completed, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar stressed the survey will be “beneficial for all” and “enable the development of various sections of society, including the deprived”.
The decision to conduct a caste survey was taken by the Bihar government in June last year.