Orissa: HC grants pension to transwoman after parents demise

Hyderabad: In the case of a transwoman who was allegedly discriminated against on the basis of gender, the Orissa High Court has ordered a grant of family pension to the petitioner.

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A single bench of Justice Aditya Kumar Mohapatra said, “The petitioner, as a transgender, has every right to choose her gender.”

Live Law reported that the petitioner’s father was a government employee, and after his death, his wife received the pensionary amount every month. However, after she also passed away due to age-related issues, the petitioner applied for the pension benefits.

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She applied for a family pension under rule 56 of Odisha Civil Services (Pension) Rules. Under the rule, she and her sister come under the category of “unmarried daughter, widow or divorced daughter” and as such are eligible to get a family pension.

Omkar Devdas, the counsel for the petitioner, contended that the authorities did not consider the application of the petitioner for the grant of a family pension. He stated that the petitioner was treated in a “discriminatory manner” and had not sanctioned the family pension.

He further submitted that such conduct of the authorities is in gross violation of the pension rule.

He cited the following observation from the judgment, wherein the Supreme Court had granted liberty to transgender people for self-identification- “Transgender persons’ right to decide their self-identified gender is also upheld and the Centre and state governments are directed to grant legal recognition of their gender identity such as male, female or as the third gender.”

Accordingly, the Principal Accountant General (A&E), Odisha, Bhubaneswar (Opposite Party No. 5) was directed to process the application of the petitioner as expeditiously as possible preferably within a period of six weeks from the date of communication of a certified copy of the order.

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