The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Thursday said it had issued a notice to the Chief Secretary of the Uttar Pradesh government seeking an independent inquiry into the incident of a transwoman teacher being terminated by a private school, in the Lakhimpur-Kheri district, allegedly because of her gender identity.
The NCW said in a statement that it had taken cognisance of media reports about her termination. The Hindu had on December 7 reported that the teacher, Jane Kaushik, was forced to resign from her position as a Trained Graduate Teacher (Social Science & English), within a week of her joining the school.
Ms. Kaushik was appointed by the Uma Devi Children’s Academy on November 22. When she reported for duty at the school three days later, she was asked to ensure that no one - neither staff nor students - found out about her trans identity. After a week of ostracisation from fellow teachers and abuses from students, she was called to the Principal’s office and asked to resign, as some students had “discovered” her identity.
The Commission noted that the school administration had denied Ms. Kaushik’s allegations and cited incompetence as the reason for her termination, and that it had taken cognisance of the matter.
“The Transgender Persons (Protection of Right) Act, 2019 was enacted to end the discrimination against transgender persons and provide them with equal opportunities in all spheres of life. Chairperson Ms Rekha Sharma has written to Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh seeking that an independent inquiry be conducted into the allegations leveled and that, if the accusations are confirmed, strict action be taken against the school authorities,” the NCW statement said.
It added that an action-taken report on the matter must be submitted to it within seven days and that a copy of the letter had also been sent to the District Magistrate of Lakhimpur-Kheri.
Hearing about the NCW calling for an independent probe, Ms. Kaushik told The Hindu, “It feels amazing when a person from a marginalised section of society, especially a transgender woman gets heard by the higher authorities. I am grateful to the NCW which took up the issue into its notice so soon. I would like to thank the chairperson of the NCW who issued a notice to the Secretary of the U.P. government for an independent enquiry. Now I beleive that justice will be done to me, my gender identity and the whole of my transgender community. And doors will be opened for many like me. I feel empowered.”
“Now I beleive that justice will be done to me, my gender identity and the whole of my transgender community”Jane KaushikTranswoman teacher