Transgender activist Vidya Kamble appointed as a Lok Adalat member

In a new first for India, a transgender activist has been appointed as Lok Adalat judge in Maharashtra. In a country that was among the first to acknowledge the third sex, it has taken quite a while to integrate them in the conversation of decision-making.

Vidya Kamble appointed as member of the Lok Adalat

The lack of representation of the community in the decision-making process is apparent and saddening. But it seems the country is taking baby steps towards including everyone in the conversation of law and jurisprudence. Vidya Kamble was appointed on the Lok Adalat panel on January 29th. Kamble has been a transgender activist for ten years. As the newly appointed member, she asked why transgender babies are thrown out, especially when those with disabilities were not. She also expressed her concern about the discrimination against those belonging to the LGBTQ community.

When asked what persuaded her to be part of the panel she said it made her feel proud. She also mentioned that the other members on the panel were very supportive. She said she was involved in the verification of cases presently. The legal aid committee’s secretary Kunal Jadhav said that many members of the transgender were well-educated and should be included in the decision-making process. He also said that panels like the Lok Adalat were supposed to improve the transgender’s status in the eyes of the ordinary people. He also pointed out that disabled people have been part of the panel before. Lok Adalats usually comprises of a sitting or retired judge, a lawyer and an activist.

One step forward

While this is definitely a huge leap in the status of the transgender community, there is still much work to be done. As a community, they still face brutal discrimination and the tone of voice of treating being a transgender as a ‘disability’ or comparing the two is still problematic. Being a transgender shouldn’t be looked at as a disability, in fact, it should be seen as an identity in its own right and given its due. Moves like these should occur all around the country and at higher levels too if we really want progress.