Madras High Court allows transgender applicants to write exam for Police Constable selections despite age bar

July 8, 2019 | Deekshitha Ganesan
Case No. Writ Petition No. 15911/2019, 15920/2019 and 16549/2019 Date of Filing 10/06/2019 Status Pending Petitioners 1. Deepika 2. Thenmozhi 3. Saratha Respondents 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.

Case No. Writ Petition No. 15911/2019, 15920/2019 and 16549/2019 Date of Filing 10/06/2019 Status Pending Petitioners 1. Deepika 2. Thenmozhi 3. Saratha Respondents 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