Bombay High Court criticises stereotypical observations by sessions judge against transgender persons

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The Bombay High Court recently criticised a sessions court for making unwarranted, stereotypical observations against transgender persons while rejecting a bail plea filed by a transwoman [Jyoti Prsadavi v. State of Maharashtra].

The sessions court at Pandharpur had commented that it was “well known” that transgender persons “harass” people and that trans persons were getting “bolder, rowdier and nastier.” Such comments were made over the course of three paragraphs in the December 19 bail rejection order of the sessions court.

On January 15, Justice Madhav Jamdar of the Bombay High Court condemned these comments by the sessions court and said that such remarks uncalled for.

Transgender persons are citizens of this country and are also entitled to the right to live with dignity, the judge added.

“Such stereotypical and generalising observations regarding the behaviour of the transgenders is uncalled for. Transgenders are citizens of this country. Article 21 of the Constitution of India protects the right to life and personal liberty of all citizens. The right to life includes right to live with dignity. Therefore, the observations which are recorded in Paragraph Nos. 19 to 21 of the impugned Order should not have been recorded and are not required or material for consideration of a Bail Application,” the High Court’s order stated.

Justice Madhav Jamdar
The bail applicant, Jyoti Manjappa Prasadavi, had been accused of harassing and abusing a devotee visiting the Vitthal-Rukmini Mandir, Pandharpur. She was also accused of demanding money, assaulting and forcibly disrobing.

For her alleged acts, Prasadavi was booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Maharashtra Police Act on December 3, 2023.

After a bail application filed by Prasadavi was rejected by a Pandharpur sessions court, she approached the High Court for relief.

Before the High Court, Prasadavi’s counsel pointed out that the investigation is complete though chargesheet was yet to be filed.

Justice Jamdar found merit in these arguments. He observed that the investigation was complete and the trial was unlikely to conclude any time soon.

Therefore, Prasadavi was granted bail on furnishing a bail bond of ₹5,000.

Advocate Ravi Asabe appeared for the bail applicant.

Additional public prosecutor Anamika Malhotra appeared for the State.

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