Transgender rights: SC tells NADRA to amend gender verification process

Orders all provincial governments to protect fundamental rights of eunuchs.

Azam Khan April 26, 2011


The Supreme Court on Monday directed the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) not to verify the gender of transgender people through a medical board and amend its laws to declare eunuchs as she-males.

A three-member bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani, resumed the case’s hearing on Monday and directed NADRA to amend the law.

Members of the transgender community had earlier expressed concern over what they called NADRA’s complicated verification process. Under this policy, a third box for “mukhanas” was included in the CNIC form. Following an order by the Supreme Court, this policy was enacted from January 1.

Earlier, a NADRA official had submitted before the SC that those applying under the mukhanas category need to satisfy some “essential” requirements as there were two sub-categories in the mukhanas category: Khwaja Sira (he) and Zankha (she-males).

The court asked NADRA’s legal manager, who was present in the courtroom, whether such documentation was required to issue identity cards to men and women.

The NADRA representative informed the court that an ordinance would soon be promulgated for registration and declaration of eunuchs as she-male.

The CJ said that if transgender people are given their complete rights, their families will also own them. He warned that stern action will be taken against police officers who try to harass them.

The court asked all provincial governments to protect the fundamental rights of transgender people and also take steps towards granting  them inheritance rights.

The court directed NADRA to expedite efforts for issuance of Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) to members of the transgender community, besides registering them as she-males. The court observed that the community members are Pakistani nationals but they are deprived of various rights including that of having CNICs.

All provincial governments submitted reports before the SC about steps they had taken for welfare of the transgender community. The court was informed that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh governments had appointed focal persons to represent transgender people and coordinate between them and administrative departments. The court also directed the Punjab and Balochistan governments to appoint focal persons.

In its report, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government also stated that the provincial higher education department will continue imparting education to all citizens, including those from the transgender community, without any discrimination under provisions of sub clauses 1 and 2 of Article 25 of the constitution.

Counsel for eunuchs Dr Muhammad Aslam Khaki had earlier informed the court that NADRA had set a complicated procedure and the authority was asking transgender people for documentation to confirm their gender before issuing CNICs. The court asked the authority to correct the odd conditions and adjourned the hearing for three weeks.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2011.


Ali | 10 years ago | Reply What would they write. It should be done after their consultation
T | 10 years ago | Reply Bravo! fantastic news.
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