Madras High court reprieve for three transgenders

Permission granted to them to appear in Gr.II police constable exam.

Chennai: The Madras high court has directed the authorities to accept the applications from three transgender persons for the posts of grade II police constable (AR) and allow them to appear in the written examination that is to be conducted by the authorities for the said post.

Justice V.Parthiban gave the directive while passing interim orders on the petitions filed by Deepika and two others, who sought a direction to the authorities to provide with the benefit of age relaxation up to 45 years as provided to other categories of applicants, to the transgender persons also, who are applying for the post of grade II police constable.

The judge said since an important issue has been raised in these petitions in regard to the relaxation of age of the petitioners and the like, which require critical appreciation and examination by this court and also the fact that the balance of convenience is in favour of the petitioners, the above interim direction is issued.

According to senior counsel Jayna Kothari, appearing for the petitioner, the TNUSRB called for applications for the post of grade II police constable and seeks to fill 2,465 vacancies from women and transgender applicants. The notification prescribes age limits for different categories of applicants. The petitioner attempted to apply by filling in the prescribed online application form on March 26 and she chose her gender as 'transgender'. As she belongs to de-notified community the age limit applicable was 26 years.

However as she was born prior to July 1, 1993, and her age presently was 27 years, her application was not accepted and could not be uploaded to the online application portal. When she filled in her details, she was informed that "you are over-aged for this recruitment", Jayna added.

Jayna Kothari said the upper age limit prescribed by the impugned notification for other categories of applicants such as SC/ST persons was 29 years, for Destitute Widow applicants was 35 years and for Ex-Servicemen applicants was 45 years, which was a relaxation of 3 years, 9 years and 19 years respectively when compared to persons from BC, MBC, de-notified communities and transgender persons. No separate age relaxation of any kind has been provided to transgender persons as they have simply been grouped under the category of MBC. The notification does not take into consideration that transgender persons were a socially and educational backward class who have compromised access to education and employment opportunities, on account of which they should be provided with relaxations in the application process, she added.

She said the notification has provided no reason for providing such a strict upper age limit for transgender persons when categories of applicants like SC/ST persons, destitute widows and ex-servicemen have been provided further relaxations in the upper age limit. In fact, for the purpose of fixing upper age limit, there was no rationale in clubbing transgender applicants with the MBC category especially when transgender persons face many hurdles and difficulties in accessing education and gaining employment. The last date for making online application has lapsed and TNUSRB was set to conduct the written examination shortly, Jayna added.

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