On Monday, the Centre told the High Court of Delhi that a communication has been issued to all the states & union territories to include data of transgender prisoners under a separate gender in prison statistics reports from 2020 onwards.
The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel & Justice Prateek Jalan by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma in response to a PIL seeking a direction to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to “make requisite policy & format amendment to include the data on transgender prisoners” in the prison statistics reports.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma Jalan placed on record a letter written to the states & UTs, according to which, “NCRB intends to include transgender in the gender classification of prisoners from PSI-2020 onwards. Accordingly, gender classification of the prisoners will be classified as Male, Female & Transgender in the PSU proforma & Annexures”.
The NCRB, as per the communication, has now directed the state & UT authorities to direct the concerned officials “to prepare for collection of transgender data in the gender classification of prisoners while collecting data for Prison Statistics India-2020”. The ASG said that the communication was issued on Dec 4 & therefore, nothing remains in the petition.
The data for NCRB’s annual publication ‘Prison Statistics, India’ earlier included data on prisoners under two categories – Male & Female.
The division bench on Dec 1 had asked NCRB to inform it about any decision regarding the demand for inclusion of transgenders as a separate third gender in its annual report on prison statistics. It was argued in the plea that it finds its basis in a Top Court ruling “wherein it has unequivocally given legal recognition to the transgenders, in addition to declaring their right to self-determination of gender”.
“Till date, only two genders appear in the Prisons Statistics India report published by NCRB i.e. male & female, to the complete exclusion of the third gender,” said the petition, adding, however, transgenders have been recognized as third gender in other publications like ‘Crimes in India’ & ‘Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India’ by NCRB.
The plea also argued that the absence of proper statistics on the number of transgender prisoners in India raises grave concerns on the treatement of such prisoners.
It contended that “It is not uncommon to learn about incidents of atrocities in jails with transgenders, & without the transparency/recognition of transgenders in the Prison Statistics India, these atrocities are only likely to increase exponentially”.