- Apprentice Lawyer
The Central government is resorting to delaying tactics in the plea for admission of Transgender persons to National Cadet Corps (NCC), the petitioner in the case told the Kerala High Court on Friday.
A Bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman adjourned the matter after the NCC counsel sought ten days’ period to file an additional affidavit in the case.
The adjournment came even as the the petitioner’s counsel, Raghul Sudheesh objected stating, “Your Lordship, this is a delaying tactic”.
The Court clarified that in the intervening period, the interim direction issued by the Court in November to keep a seat vacant at NCC for the petitioner, will continue.
Ever since the petition was moved in October 2020, it has been adjourned repeatedly upon the request of the Central Government, acting through Counsel Daya Sindhu Shreehari.
Justice Devan Ramachandran, who was initially hearing the matter, had castigated the Centre for the undue delay by the Central government/ NCC in filing documents.
Eventually, in its counter affidavit filed before the High Court in December, the Centre and NCC had opposed admission of Transgender persons to NCC.
The affidavit pointed out that as of now, there is provision for enrolling only boy and girl cadets in NCC. Besides, since the aim of NCC is to groom cadets for future with the Armed Forces and the Armed Forces do not have a provision for entry of Transgender persons, the same is absent in NCC as well.
"It is the prerogative of the Central government to constitute a new division for third gender. Before constituting a new division for the third gender, the central government and authorities will have to conduct a major exercise in terms of reviewing the infrastructure facilities, modules," the affidavit said.
Any induction of a candidate who is not from male or female gender without due deliberations by the authorities, will have far reaching ramifications, the affidavit added.
At one of the previous hearings, the Kerala High Court censured the Central Government for failing to formulate a policy to enroll transpersons with the corps. It had remarked that the world has progressed and the government cannot afford to remain in the 19th century.
"Certainly there are three genders, male, female, and transgender. In this case the lady, the petitioner herein, has decided to assign to herself her gender as a woman and she has gone through surgery also. Nothing stops you from admitting her even under the NCC Act as a woman," Justice Devan Ramachandran, who was hearing the plea, had orally remarked.
The case has been shifted to Justice Anu Sivaraman after a change in the roster in 2021.
Filed through Advocates Raghul Sudheesh, Lakshmi J, Glaxon KJ and Sanish Sasi Raj, the petitioner has challenged her exclusion from the NCC on account of being transgender as arbitrary.
In the petition, it is emphasized that the inclusion of sexual minorities such as transgender persons is necessary to address the rampant marginalisation and discrimination faced by them.
The petitioner, presently a student at the University College, Thiruvananthapuram, underwent two sex reassignment surgeries and obtained a transgender identity card under the Kerala government's Transgender Policy, 2015.
Apart from a declaration from the Court that Section 6 of the NCC Act is unconstitutional, the petitioner has also urged the Court's intervention to allow her to be part of the enrollment process this year as interim relief.
The petitioner has further sought a direction to the NCC to suitably amend their enrollment criteria to allow the enrollment of transpersons.