After West Bengal and Maharashtra, Assam will see its first transgender judge mediate cases on Saturday. *Swati Bidhan Baruah* will be one among 20 member judges to mediate cases in a Lok Adalat in Guwahati on Saturday.
West Bengal appointed Joyita Mondal as the country’s first transgender judge in July 2017. In February, Maharashtra appointed Vidya Kamble as a member judge in a Lok Adalat in Nagpur. The Kamrup (metro) district legal service authority has appointed Baruah, 26, a mediator in pre-litigation cases related to finance companies. H Ali Hazarika, a retired district and sessions judge, will preside over the bench.
Baruah had moved the Bombay High Court in 2012 seeking permission to undergo a sex reassignment surgery, which her family opposed. She won the case and underwent the procedure. Last year, Baruah moved the Gauhati High Court seeking necessary steps to secure the rights and welfare of transgender persons.
“I hope this [the appointment] will make people realise that transgenders are not untouchables and the stigma we are facing because of lack of a policy for the welfare of the community,” Baruah told The Telegraph on Saturday. “Transgenders are still taunted in public places and even beaten up by the police. That needs to stop and society should make us feel part of it.”