Assam has become the third state to have a transgender person employed as a judge in a local court. Swati Bidhan Baruah, a 26 year old Guwahati resident, has been appointed as a judge to mediate cases in Lok Adalat, becoming the first transgender judge in Assam judiciary.
Baruah joined the ranks of Joyita Mondal of West Bengal and Vidya Kamle of Maharashtra.
While Mondal became a judge in July 2017, Kamle was hired as a member judge in a Lok Adalat in Nagpur in February.
Baruah has been appointed as a mediator is pre-litigation cases related to finance companies by the Kamrup (metropolitan) district legal service authority.
Baruah is a part of group of 20 judges who were deputed to mediate Lok Adalat cases.
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The journey has not been smooth for Baruah. She came into media limelight in 2012 when Baruah had given a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking a nod to undergo a sex reassignment surgery. The move was reportedly opposed by her family. In 2017, she had also moved the Gawahati High Court seeking rights for the transgender community of Assam as per a 2014 Supreme Court order.
Reacting to the appointment, elated Baruah said, “We, the transgenders, are often booed and taunted by some people in public but we are like any other human being. I am sure that my appointment will make them realise that transgenders are not untouchable.”