The Lahore High Court (LHC) sought on Saturday replies from the Punjab government, provincial chief secretary and Punjab inspector general of police on a writ petition over "discrimination" against transgender persons by denying them jobs in the police.
Justice Shujaat Ali Khan of the LHC ordered that the petition be relisted on November 1 for hearing and the respondents were to submit their replies before the next date of hearing.
"Let notice[s] be issued to the respondents with the direction to file their report and parawise comments before the next date of hearing. Learned Law Officer shall ensure [the] filing of [the] report and parawise comments before the next date of hearing, " the court order read.
Observing that the matter raised in the petition was of "public importance", the court appointed two senior lawyers, Advocate Mazhar Ilahi and Advocate Ali Afzal Sahi, and Dr Naeem, the chairperson of the Islamic studies department at Government College University, Lahore, as amicus curiae to assist the court at the next hearing.
The petitioner, a transgender person, Ashi Jan, contended in the plea that Article 25 of the Constitution guaranteed equal rights for transgender persons and they had been given the "right to all kinds of employment" under Article 27.
The petitioner prayed the court to direct the Central Police Office to clarify its position as to why it had not recruited any transgender person over the past 10 years.
Citing Section 4 of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, the plea stated that under the law, no person could discriminate against a transgender person on grounds pertaining to unfair treatment in relation to employment trade or occupation. It added that a transgender person could also not be denied or terminated from employment on the basis of discrimination under the said law.
The petition said that by denying jobs to transgender persons in the police departments, the relevant authorities had not been performing their duties in accordance with the law and Constitution.
It moved the court to direct the respondents to ensure the implementation of the relevant law and Constitution in the matter and direct the provincial police chief to issue directives for the recruitment of transgender persons in his department.
Advocate Shahbaz Akmal Jandran And Advocate Nadeem Sarwar, lawyers for the petitioner, moved the petition in the LHC on Jan's behalf.