|Writ Petition No. 15911/2019, 15920/2019 and 16549/2019
|Date of Filing
|1. Deepika 2. Thenmozhi 3. Saratha
|1. The Chairman, Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board 2. State of Tamil Nadu, represented by the Secretary, Department of Social Welfare 3. State of Tamil Nadu, represented by the Secretary, Department of Labour and Employment
The Petitioners have filed writ petitions before the Madras High Court challenging the Notification 1/2019 dated 06.03.2019 issued by the Tamil Nadu Uniform Services Recruitment Board.
The Notification called for applications for the post of Grade II Police Constable (AR) from women and transgender persons. It also fixed the upper age limit for the said post at 24 years for general category candidates. Likewise, it also fixed the upper age limit at 26 years for candidates from Backward, Most Backward and Denotified Community categories, 29 years for SC/ST candidates, 35 years for Destitute Widows and 45 years for Ex-Servicemen.
As per the said Notification, transgender candidates would be considered Most Backward Classes (MBC) category. This is for the purposes of reservation if they do not submit a community or caste certificate. No separate age relaxation of any kind was provided to transgender persons. Therefore, the upper age limit applicable to transgender persons is also 26 years.
The Petitioners are transgender persons aged between 27 to 29 years. Pursuant to the Notification 1/2019, the Petitioners attempted to apply for the post of Grade II Police Constable (AR), falling under the MBC category. However, their application was not accepted by the online portal on the grounds that they were “…overaged for this recruitment”.
The Petitioners addressed representations to Respondent No. 1 to accept their applications by providing age relaxation to transgender applicants, along the lines of those extended to destitute widows and ex-servicemen. The Petitioners relied on the judgement of the Hon’ble Madras High Court in The Chairman, Tamil Nadu Uniform Services Recruitment Board v. Aradhana [Writ Appeal No. 330 of 2018]. However, Respondent No. 1 failed to take any action.
The Petitioners contend that as the Hon’ble Supreme Court held in NALSA v. Union of India, the transgender community faces discrimination, prejudice and violence from various sections of the society. Therefore, they must be provided with age relaxations similar to other marginalized groups to enable them to secure employment opportunities. The failure to provide transgender persons with sufficient age relaxation along the lines of relaxation provided to other categories of vulnerable applicants like SC/ST persons, Destitute Widows and Ex-servicemen amounts to discrimination on the basis of gender. Thus, violating the right to equality and non-discrimination guaranteed under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India, 1950.
Therefore, the Petitions seek a writ in the nature of Certiorarified Mandamus to quash the notification issued by the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board and provide for age relaxation along the lines provided to other vulnerable groups.
On 24.06.2019, by way of interim relief, the Hon’ble High Court of Madras was pleased to direct the Respondent No. 1 to accept the application of the Petitioners and allow them to sit for the written examination.
The Petitioners appeared for the written examination and secured 35 (Deepika), 32 (Saratha) and 30 (Thenmozhi) marks. However, the cut-off for participating in the physical endurance test under the MBC category was 38 marks and Ex-Servicemen, Sports and Destitute Widow applicants had been significant relaxation in the cut-off marks. Therefore, the Petitioners filed a petition to amend the prayer seeking relaxation in cut-off marks along the lines of the relaxation given to the Destitute Widows category (29). If such relaxation is granted, the petitioners would qualify for the physical endurance test.
The Petitioners argued that as per the decision of the Hon’ble High Court in the case of Aradhana and Prithika Yashini, relaxation in cut-off marks should be extended to transgender applicants as well and they should be allowed to participate in the physical endurance test.
On 14.11.2019, by way of interim relief, the Hon’ble Court permitted the petitioners to participate in the physical endurance test and has left open the question of the appropriate relaxation to be extended to transgender persons. This order was thereafter challenged by the State of Tamil Nadu and a Division Bench of the Hon’ble Court directed, vide order dated 06.12.2019, that the petitions be heard and disposed of finally on the question of relaxation of age and cut-off marks.
– This post was authored by Deekshitha Ganesan, Research Associate
- Writ Petition - Deepika
- Writ Petition - Thenmozhi
- Writ Petition - Saratha
- Order dated 24.06.2019
- Counter Affidavit filed by Respondent No. 1
- Order dated 14.11.2019
- Amendment Petition for cut-off relaxation - Deepika
- Amendment Petition for cut-off relaxation - Saratha
- Amendment Petition for cut-off relaxation - Thenmozhi
- Order of Division Bench dated 6 December 2019