Published: 30th November 2017
By April, TN's transgenders will be able to get government jobs under a separate quota
The Madras High Court ordered the government to frame suitable rules and also asked them to undertake a survey of transgenders across TN. Activists and transgenders are thrilled at the move
In a landmark judgment, the Madras High Court directed the State Government to issue guidelines that will establish a selection process for transgenders, enabling them to get jobs in government services, by April 2018. The Court also criticised the State government for not taking any steps to frame the guidelines despite the proposal for it having been pending for years.
The State Government has been ordered by the High Court to issue the guidelines in the next four months. Recruiting agencies such as the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC), Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB), Tamilnadu Uniformed Service Recruitment Board (TUSRB), Medical Recruitment Board (MRB) and other employment agencies have been directed to frame the guidelines on the "determination of community" and "reservation in employment" with respect to the third gender.
Chief Justice N Kirubakaran issued this direction in addition to his judgment in the Tharika Banu case. Taking into consideration Tharika Banu and all the transgender community members in the State, the Chief Justice issued the additional orders asking all government agencies to open up their doors to transgenders. The order read, "This Court hopes that this order would be the first step to throw open doors of educational institutions for the entry of "Transgenders" for their social empowerment, employment status, dignity, right etc., which have been denied to them till date, violating the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution."
Further, the Court also stated that it should be made aware of whether regular surveys and census are being conducted and if all the transgenders have been identified, "It is appropriate for the State Government to conduct a survey with regard to transgenders and their place of living, so that if any benefit scheme is extended by the Government, the same could reach them," the Court said.
The new order is life-changing for all the 5518 registered transgenders in the State, who can finally avail job opportunities in the government sections and move away from professions that they are usually forced into.
Activist Grace Banu has been fighting for reservation in Government services since 2013, when Edex contacted her about her daughter Tharika's Siddha admission, she said she was thrilled by the judgment. But she mentioned that the fight to ensure reservation in job sectors would go on- now with this Court judgment, she has tasted two victories with one battle. "Finally it has happened after so many years of struggle, I couldn't be happier," she said.
While the move has been welcomed by all transgenders, some of them also pointed out that it is sad that they have to continue fighting for their basic fundamental rights, "Certainly it is a welcome move. However, we are also frustrated about the necessity to repeatedly go to the court to get basic rights recognized. NALSA vs Union of India, decided on April 15, 2014, has already said transgender people should be given reservation in education and employment. The government cannot be allowed to act in contempt of court," said Delfina, an LGBTQ activist from Chennai.
Transgender activist, Vijaya Rajamallika from Kerala has welcomed the High Court order and said that other States should follow suit, "In Kerala, we don't even have the count of the number of transgenders but Tamil Nadu has passed such a progressive judgment. It is very inspiring and we hope that it'll open up the eyes of other States soon."