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Written by: Prashant Jaiswal (Intern)

Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)

In a recent judgment, Karnataka high court ordered the State Government to provide 1% reservation in jobs to transgender people by issuing directions to state-owned corporations and statutory bodies led by the government. The bench comprising of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice N.S. Sanjay Gowda hears the intervention application filed by Sangama, a Bangalore-based organization that worked for the betterment of sex workers and individuals infected with HIV, etc. and praised the state government by stating that the state govt. has opted for an innovative step by allowing 1% reservation in the Karnataka Civil Services General Recruitment (Rules), 1977 to transgender people. Court further added that state govt. shall also consider providing reservations to transgender people in State-owned corporations and statutory authorities.

Petitioner Contentions

In July, the Karnataka govt. released the notification regarding reservation for transgender people through direct recruitment in government jobs. The reservation is provided in each category of SC, ST, OBC and General merit. Petitioner’s plea in court is in reference to the govt. notification only in which interveners are asking to give directions to remaining public enterprises for providing reservations to transgender people. Interveners refer to the earlier judgment of the Supreme Court in NALSA vs. Union of India, (2014) SSC 438 to raise the issue of gender specification. Petitioners contended that the state opens the vacancies for men and women and specify in the guidelines that only men and women as genders can fill the form. Other specifications such as height, weight, age are open for men and women respectively, in the notification but didn’t pay any heed to the third-gender people.
The Petitioner submitted that even the apex court has recognized the rights of transgender people and declared that they are entitled to fundamental rights given under the constitution of India. The Karnataka govt. guidelines are in contrast with the articles 14, 19 and 21 as listed under the Indian constitution which provides fundamental rights to every citizen.

Petitioner raised a concern to include a different category for the third person in both Special Reserve Constable Force as well as Bandsmen post from Karnataka govt. petitioner also added that transgender people should be treated equally as the men and female category for the same post. Besides that, petitioner demanded a scheme of reservation for the transgender people in the Bandsmen and Special Reserve Constable Force post. The next hearing is scheduled for 22nd September on which govt. will provide the steps taken as directed by the court.

Observation of Court

Court applauded the step of the Karnataka government by giving 1% reservation to the transgender community in Karnataka Civil Services General Recruitment (Rules), 1977 and added that govt. shall consider issuing guidelines to public enterprises under the authority of state government to permit similar reservations to transgender people. Court ordered the state to provide the report of appropriate action taken by govt. within 6 weeks. Respondent appearing on behalf of govt. said that these public enterprises have their own rules and code of conduct on which they work; govt. can’t force them to adopt such guidelines. The court will hear the matter further on September 22.

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