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Out of the forty-five thousand students writing this year’s edition of the Common Law Entrance Test (CLAT), four transgender students also find mention.
This year’s CLAT Convenor, the Vice-Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law Prof Paramjit Jaswal confirmed the same.
“Our service provider told us that based on the information from the application forms, four applicants were transgender students, so we created the ‘transgender’ column for the first time.”
This comes at a time when legal recognition of transgenders has been directed by the apex court itself. In the 2014 judgment of NALSA v. Union of India, Justices KS Radhakrishnan and AK Sikri held that transgenders be treated as socially and educationally backward classes of citizens. The Supreme Court also held that reservation must be extended to transgenders in cases of admission in educational institutions.
Though there is no such reservation policy in place yet, the CLAT law schools seem to have taken a step in the right direction.
In fact, attempts at introducing a column for transgenders in exam applications have been made before. Last year, a writ was filed in the Delhi High Court arguing that the lack of a third gender option has resulted in transgenders not being able to apply for the UPSC examination.
On June 17 of last year, the UPSC argued that since the Supreme Court had not clarified what its definition of ‘transgenders’ was, the same plea could not be entertained. That matter is still pending before the High Court.
Law schools have been at the forefront of recognizing gender neutrality. Just last year, NALSAR was the first university to hand out a gender-neutral degree when Mx. Anindita Mukherjee revealed that she did not wish to be identified as ‘Ms.’