In a significant development, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has at last amended the Income Tax rules permitting the inclusion of the thrid gender option in the application forms. As such from now on, the forms will have three check-boxes for each of the three genders, i.e. male, female and transgender.
It all started with the the Supreme Court of India in 2014 recognising the transgender community as a ‘third gender’, after hearing a petition that was filed by the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) pleading with the court to grant equal legal and social status to transgenders.
Prior to the Supreme Court judgement, a problem started when Aadhaar application forms were equipped with the third gender box, but the Permanent Account Number (PAN) application failed to have one such a option.
This created several discrepancies for members of the transgender community while filling their income tax returns – since gender details would mismatch in the Aadhaar and PAN.
The whole problem started when a transgender person named Reshma Prasad approached the SC stating that she could not register her start-up as there was a mismatch in the gender mentioned on her Aadhaar and PAN cards.
So on March 28, the Supreme Court solicited the help of Attorney General K K Venugopal to help with a petition filed by Reshma Prasad.
With the new rules now in place, persons like Reshma Prasad can hopefully get back to running their business and daily lives with one less hassle.
This is just one instance where a transgender person has petitioned to bring about a change.