The clarification application filed by the Union of India in NALSA came up for hearing today in the Supreme Court before Justices A K Sikri and N V Ramanna. The application sought clarification on two issues in the judgment:- 1) whether the term ‘transgender’ also includes lesbian, gay and bisexual persons, and 2) whether all transgender persons can be classified as ‘Other Backward Classes’, without following the procedure laid down in National Commission for Backward Classes Act?
Both the Petitioner (NALSA) and Impleaded Party (Trans Activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathy) had filed their replies opposing the said application.
On behalf of the Government, Additional Solicitor General – Mr. Maninder Singh, stated that the application was filed in September, 2014 due to abundant caution and the Court may dispose off the same, by just clarifying that lesbians, gay and bisexual persons were not included in the term ‘transgender’, since this was a ‘sensitive issue’. Justice Sikri (who was one of the judges who passed the NALSA judgment in April, 2014) said that this was already clear in the judgment and there was no need for any further clarification. The Court even asked aloud ‘why the application should not be dismissed with costs’. Finally, the Court dismissed the application by saying there was no need for any clarification on the definition of ‘transgender’. The Government did not raise any other issue, including the OBC classification.
Consequently, the NALSA decision stands as it is, without any change or modification. All the progressive observations on equality, non-discrimination, identity, expression, dignity, autonomy as well as the affirmation of Yogyakarta principles in the judgment remain.
Today’s order has no bearing on the sexual orientation of a transgender person or of any other person. There is no need to panic or feel despair. It is a good thing that the application has been disposed off. Now the NALSA decision can be implemented in its true spirit all over the country.
Via A. Chakravorty