Assam’s first transgender judge will begin work at the lok adalat here from Saturday making the northeastern state the third one in the country, after West Bengal and Maharashtra to have one such.
Swati Bidhan Baruah said on Friday that she will begin her stint in court number 25 in the Kamrup district and sessions court on after being appointed to the post by the Kamrup (metro) district legal services.
“My appointment as a judge in the lok adalat is a very positive message for the society and will help create awareness on discrimination against transgenders,” she told reporters here.
“The capacity and capability of transgenders must be recognised and they must be provided with ample opportunities to ensure that they can lead a dignified life. I hope that I am able to maintain the principle of natural justice as a judge as lok adalats deal with settlement outside the court through arbitration, conciliation and mediation,” she added.
Speaking on the problems faced by transgenders in Assam, she said their current one is getting their names registered in the National Register of Citizens(NRC) as most of them are disowned by their families during their childhood and do not possess any document to prove their citizenship.
“We have documented the list of transgenders in the state and will soon appeal to the Supreme Court to ensure that they are included in the NRC and not labelled as foreigners”, she said.
There are also several unresolved cases against transgenders in the courts which she hoped will be resolved soon.
Baruah said she has plans to initiate mass sensitisation to end discrimination against transgenders and ensure that they get proper opportunities to lead a life of dignity.
Joyita Mondal of North Dinajpur in West Bengal is the country’s first transgender judge and Vidya Kamble from Nagpur in Maharashtra the second. Mondal assumed office in July last year and Kamble in February this year.