The Tamil Nadu government on Monday told the Madras High Court that it will distribute COVID-19 cash relief to additional transgender persons who do not have ID cards. The first instalment of COVIDâ€”19 cash relief of Rs 2000 will be given out soon, the government told the Madras High Court.
Advocate General R Shanmughasundaram told the Madras HC Chief Justice Sanjib Bannerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy that a government order was issued on June 3 for distributing Rs 2000 as cash relief to 8493 transgender persons who did not have ration cards but had registered with the State Welfare Board as third gender. The submission was made during the hearing of a plea iled by trans rights activist Grace Banu to include transgender persons who did not possess ID card. The petition sought direction from the state government to distribute COVID-19 cash relief without asking for rice ration cards.
Graceâ€™s petition argued that hundreds of transgender persons in Tamil Nadu did not possess any ID card as they had lost their ID proof while getting their identity changed to get the third gender card. Further many people from the community did not have Internet access or the required competence to go to the Union governmentâ€™s portal and apply to receive a third gender card. The plea also added that hardly any transgender person had been issued with an identity card ever since the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2019 and emergence of the statutory rules framed under this act in 2020.
Grace Banuâ€™s petition said that there were more than 50,000 transgender persons in the state though the available government data shows that there were only 11,449 transgender persons of whom 2,541 had been issued with ration cards. The petition had also asked the state government to organise special camps to vaccinate persons from the community.