Guwahati, July 16: The state of Assam has become the third in the country to appoint a transgender judge as Swati Bidhan Baruah starts work in the Lok Adalat at the Kamrup (Metro) district of Guwahati. The states of Maharashtra and West Bengal have one such judge. Swati will begin her stint in court number 25 in the Kamrup district and sessions court.

Swati hails from Guwahati and is a transgender activist. She will be mediating pre-litigation cases concerning finance companies being heard by a bench headed by retired district and sessions judge H Ali Hazarike. Her appointment comes as a major relief to over 5,000 transgenders in the state, who otherwise had to run from one place to another for their legal queries and other problems faced in the society. “My appointment as a judge in the lok adalat is a very positive message for the society and will help create awareness on discrimination against transgenders,” she was quoted to a news agency. Meet India's First Transgender Lawyer, Sathyasri Sharmila.

One of the major problems that the transgender community in Assam faces is getting their names registered in the National Register of Citizens(NRC) due to the ostracism showed by their families. Swati plans to help them with the process. “We have documented the list of transgenders in the state and will soon appeal to the Supreme Court to ensure that they are included in the NRC and not labelled as foreigners," she said. Several other pending cases will also be resolved soon as she will take them up. Transgender TV Anchor Marvia Malik Challenges Pakistani Culture & Shares Struggles of Being a News Presenter.

Swati had been on the other side of the court when she had to approach the Bombay High Court over her family's opposition to her decision of undergoing a sex reassignment. Now she has been appointed as a judge when she can represent the community. Talking about her responsibilities she said, "The capacity and capability of transgenders must be recognised and they must be provided with ample opportunities to ensure that they can lead a dignified life. I hope that I am able to maintain the principle of natural justice as a judge as lok adalats deal with settlement outside the court through arbitration, conciliation and mediation."

She aims to end discrimination against the transgender community and work for providing them with good opportunities to live a dignified life in the society. Joyita Mondal of West Bengal and Vidya Kamble of Maharashtra have been the previous transgender judges in the Indian Judiciary.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 15, 2018 04:58 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website