The Karnataka High Court solicited a reply from the state government regarding the exclusion of transgender persons from the Police recruitment process. Notably, the state government had failed to include the special category of the trans community in its notification. The court heard the petition filed by a social cause society ‘Sangama’; which works for the upliftment of sexual minorities, sex workers, and people living with HIV.
Plea Concerning the Trans Community
Advocate Tarjani Desai, appearing for the petitioners, questioned the government’s move to not include Transgender Community in the recruitment process. The notification in question dealt with the post of Special Reserve Constable Force and Bandsmen. Further, the petitioner contended that the application specifies only ‘Men’ and ‘Women’ who can apply for the vacancy. In effect, the said action shall deprive the Trans community of a job opportunity because of a state-sanctioned action. Moreover, the same stands in contravention to Fundamental and Constitutional Rights of the Transgender persons under Article 14, 19, & 21 of the Constitution of India.
To this effect, the petitioner also relied on the apex court judgement in the case of NALSA vs Union of India, (2014) SCC 438. Citing the following excerpt from the judgement, the petitioner remarked that the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held and warranted equal citizenry rights to the Trans Community :
“Article 14 does not restrict the word ‘person’ and its application only to male or female. Hijras/transgender persons who are neither male/female fall within the expression ‘person’ and, hence, entitled to legal protection of laws in all spheres of State activity, including employment, healthcare, education as well as equal civil and citizenship rights, as enjoyed by any other citizen of this country.”
Finally, the plea prayed before the bench to issue directions to the state authorities. This shall be done so as to not restrict opportunities to the binary genders, and treat transgenders at par. Also, it asked the court to direct state government to establish reservations for the Trans community in the said post.
Remarks of the Hon’ble Court
A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy heard the matter. The bench issued a notice to the respondent in this regard. It explicitly sought reply by the state government as to the absence of the special category of the Third Gender:
“The state government will have to respond by pointing out why law laid down by the apex court has not been implemented while conducting the process which is subject matter of the petition.”
In addition to this, the bench asked the state to consider reservation as per the apex court order; given that the changes are possible at this stage of the recruitment process. According to the reports, 2672 posts are up for recruitment. This includes 2420 vacancies to the post of Special Reserve Constable Force and 252 Bandsmen posts.
The next hearing shall take place on July 21,2020.