The State urged the Madras High Court on Thursday that the lack of ration cards should not prevent transgender people from receiving the State’s Rs 4,000 COVID-19 cash assistance (Grace Banu v. Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu and ors).

The Court was hearing a case filed by transgender activist Grace Banu, who expressed concern that many transgender people in Tamil Nadu do not have ration cards.

Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari, appearing on behalf of Banu, stated on Thursday that a Transgender Board had previously granted identity cards to around 12,000 transgender people. However, the Board has been inactive for some time, and no idendity cards have been issued in the previous two years or more, according to the Court.

According to her, just a small percentage of transsexual people have ration cards. They do, however, have additional identity documents that show their transsexual status, she adds.

Advocate General R Shunmugasundarm, appearing for the State, informed the Court that the State may not insist on the existence of ration cards in order to prolong the cash benefit.

We won’t restrict to non-ID cardholders … transgenders they have an organization. Identification will not be a problem”, he submitted.

The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, in turn, accepted the submission on record and scheduled the issue for hearing on June 7, when the State is anticipated to provide an update to the Court on any actions taken in the issue.

In another instance, the Court encouraged the State to be attentive to a request for compensation for the relatives of those who died as a result of COVID-19.

The petition before the Court sought restitution for physicians, nurses, sweepers, and other frontline employees, as well as the relatives of those who died as a result of the illness.

The Bench stated that because these are policy issues, it cannot provide broad directions on the subject. However, it was noted that the State has declared various programmes and that in some situations, ad hoc compensation has also been provided.

The Court dismissed the case while expressing hope that it would be given sympathetic consideration by the State, particularly in situations involving impoverished families who had lost breadwinners.

The State may consider both compensation and compassionate appointment, according to the Court.


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