High time T.N. govt. conducts survey to collect contemporaneous data on transgender population, says Madras High Court

Chief Justice Sanjay V. Gangapurwala and Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy insist on using the data to provide adequate reservation for them in education and public employment

Published - March 04, 2024 08:46 pm IST - CHENNAI

There must be a horizontal reservation for transgenders cutting across all caste categories, say the judges.

There must be a horizontal reservation for transgenders cutting across all caste categories, say the judges.

The Madras High Court on Monday said it is high time the State government conducts a survey to collect contemporaneous data with respect to the transgender population so that adequate horizontal reservation can be provided to them in education and public employment.

First Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay V. Gangapurwala and Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy said the State might also seek the assistance of non governmental organisations working at the grass root level for the benefit of the transgenders in conducting such a comprehensive survey.

“The said process needs to be expedited. The State may take immediate steps in that regard... Learned Advocate General P.S. Raman submits that the said exercise would be undertaken immediately,” the judge wrote in their interim order passed on a public interest litigation petition.

The PIL petition had been filed by transgender activist Grace Banu Ganesan seeking exclusive reservation for the transgender in education and public employment. Representing the litigant, senior counsel Jayna Kothari said the Karnataka government had provided 1% horizontal reservation for the transgender.

Finding force in her submissions, the Division Bench had on Janury 9, 2024 directed the Tamil Nadu government to consider the possibility of providing a similar reservation. However, replying to it on Monday, the Social Welfare Secretary cited absence of contemporaneous data to provide such reservation.

He said at present the transgenders possessing Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe certificates were considered under those categories and all others were being considered under the Most Backward Classes (MBC) category besides applying the reservation meant for women if they identify themselves to be so.

However, the judges said such a methodology may not be beneficial to the transgender community and that there must be a horizontal reservation for them cutting across all caste categories. They directed the State government to revert to the court by April 17 regarding the progress made in conducting the survey.

The Bench also said the State government could establish toilets meant exclusively for the third gender in all public places as it had been done at the newly constructed Kalaignar Centenary Bus Terminus at Kilambakkam near Vandalur in Chennai.

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