Published: 01st December 2017
You didn't say transgenders need 50 percent marks: How the Madras High Court shut down the State's argument against transgender student Tharika Banu
The State claimed that Tharika Banu did not have enough marks to get a seat, the Court said their prospectus didn't mention transgenders and thus the cut-off did not apply to them
For the first time in history, a transgender has knocked the doors of this Court seeking to consider her candidature for a Siddha course......such admissions can't be dismissed based on technicalities, the Madras High Court stated in its judgement on the Tharika Banu case.
Tharika Banu filed a case in court after she was refused a seat at a Siddha college in the city. Despite Court orders to include 'transgender' as a gender category in the college application form, the Siddha College applications did not mention the category. Banu then manually wrote down 'transgender' on the form and applied but she was not called in for counselling.
In their defence, the State had said that Tharika had not disqualified on the basis of the fact that she was a transgender but because she hadn't got the required 50 percent score. An eligible candidate is required to scored 50 percent aggregate marks in all the science subjects but Tharika had only scored 42.25 percent, so the College had decided that she wasn't eligible for the seat.
The Court dismissed this reason and let the State understand why using the State's own logic. The Court pointed out that the 50 percent marks cut off holds good only for "males" and "females" and since the prospectus doesn't mention "transwomen" or "transgender" the cut-off marks certainly doesn't apply to them!
Sweet Sucess: Tharika Banu has a seat the Government Siddha College, now there's no stopping her.
"Only on very rare occasions, this kind of claims for admission would be made and that has to be considered with compassion and benevolence." the Court said.
"Instead of living normal stigmatic life as a transgender and in spite of undergoing various insults and even assaults, harassments in the hands of some unruly elements, when they come forward to get education, the same has to be encouraged and based on technicalities, the transgender persons coming forward to join educational institutions should not be driven out," the Court decided.
The Court also pulled up the State for not mentioning the category and also questioned the States as to why the fact that she belonged to the SC category and belonged to a minority gender was not considered for her admission. The State in its defence said that it wasn't feasible to allow 0.007 percent quota for the third gender (in proportion to the estimated population of transgenders) of 5518 which is against 7.2 crore of the total population of the State. But the Court did not accept this argument, "They have always led stigmatic lives so the interests of the transgenders should be protected, it is not as if there are only one or two persons in the society, there are 5518 transgenders living in Tamil Nadu," the Court said.
Now that the Court has taken her side, Tharika will now join Government Siddha College in Chennai immediately. Her victory has also brought victory to others, as the Court also directed the State Government to ensure reservations for transgenders in Government services as well. Read about it here -