Juyal told The Hindu that the PIL was filed because bus marshals mock transwomen when they seek pink tickets and accuse them of “pretending to be women for the sake of free travel”.
In the petition, Juyal had said that the tickets issued by the DTC at present recognises two genders — male and female — and there is no recognition of members belonging to the transgender community.
The High Court has granted the Delhi government one month’s time to decide on the representation to legally recognise members of the transgender community as third gender and enable them to avail of free travel on DTC buses.
The order was issued based on a contempt petition filed for “wilful non-compliance” of an October 2022 order of a Division Bench that had granted four months’ time to the authorities to take action on the representation.
In case of non-compliance, the court has ordered the managing director of the DTC to be present before it on August 18.
Juyal says the lack of legal recognition of transgender persons as third gender forces them to choose a gender they might not identify with. It also leaves them at the mercy of bus marshals when they opt for the pink ticket, which was introduced by the Aam Aadmi Party government in 2019 to enable women to travel for free on public buses.
According to the plea, “Non-recognition of the transgender community as third gender in the physical tickets issued by the DTC is in the teeth of [The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019] Act, which recognised the legal right of the community to choose their self-perceived gender.”
The petition also submitted that providing free travel to persons belonging to the transgender community in DTC buses would be a promotion of social equality as they have always been shunned by society and treated as a community of untouchables.
While the government boasts that over 125 crore pink tickets have been sold over the past year, showcasing the scheme’s impact on promoting gender equality, Juyal says transgender persons are deprived of an affordable mode of transport.
Securing pink tickets has become difficult owing to lack of sensitisation and awareness, Juyal says. “Every time I ask bus marshals for a pink ticket, they ridicule me and question my gender identity. This constant harassment caused a lot of trauma and led me to file the PIL.”