Centre Informs Supreme Court: Transgender Persons Eligible for SC/ST/OBC/EWS Reservation, No Separate Quota

Transgender Rights Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: 27 July 2023 at 13:17 IST

The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that transgender persons belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC), or Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) are eligible to avail benefits of reservation, but there is no separate federal policy for reservation specifically for transgender individuals.

This statement came in response to a contempt petition filed by members of the LGBTQIA+ community, alleging non-compliance by the Centre and states with the Supreme Court’s 2014 judgment in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India (NALSA case).

In the historic NALSA judgment, the Supreme Court not only recognized gender identities beyond the male-female binary and granted legal recognition and protection to the ‘third gender’ but also directed the central and state governments to implement mechanisms for realizing their rights, including providing affirmative action benefits.

The judgment mandated that transgender individuals be treated as socially and educationally backward citizens, and all kinds of reservation should be extended for admissions to educational institutions and public appointments.

Earlier this year, transgender individuals approached the court with a contempt petition, highlighting that no reservation policy had been formulated for them, adversely affecting their livelihoods and education. They faced difficulties in obtaining identity certificates due to social stigma, leading to unemployment.

The court issued notice in March to the Union government, as well as all state governments and union territories, seeking their responses.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment filed an affidavit in response, stating that the government had taken necessary steps to implement the NALSA directions, including enacting the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, launching a national portal for issuing transgender certificates and identity cards, and forming a National Council for Transgender persons. However, the affidavit clarified that transgender persons can avail reservation benefits only if they fall within the existing categories of reservation, as there is no separate policy for them in public education or employment.

The matter will be heard on August 18. It is noteworthy that a clarification application seeking horizontal reservation for transgender individuals was earlier dismissed by the court.

The contempt petition has been filed by Advocate Reepak Kansal through Advocate-on-Record Pravir Chowdhury.

Related Post