The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government and the Public Services Commission to respond to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking to provide reservations for transgender people in the public sector as per the Supreme Court guidelines. In addition, the High Court has directed the petitioner to add the Transgender Welfare Board of Maharashtra as a party to the petition.
The division bench headed by Justice A A Sayed, while hearing the PIL filed by NGOs Sampada Mahila Grameen Sanstha and Muskaan Sanstha and two people, was informed that the PIL was filed seeking directions to the state government and Maharashtra Public Services Commission to comply with the apex court guidelines issued in the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) vs Union of India case of 2014.
Inclusion Of Trans People In Public Sector Employment
The Supreme Court had mandated the inclusion of transgender people in public sector employment under the Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC) of Citizens as a fundamental right under Article 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India, Hindustan Times reported.
The PIL cites instances of the two transgender individuals, who are party to the petition wherein one of them, who had completed her training from the Maharashtra Police Department for the post of police constable and the other, an M Tech degree holder, wanted to apply for a vacant position in the Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company. Both had tried to apply for the posts in August and September 2021, respectively. However, in the absence of a third gender column, they could not apply for the said posts.
The petition said that though both wrote to the concerned authorities, they did not get any response and were constrained to file the PIL.
"It is submitted that there is an urgent need to change service rules. The Maharashtra State Public Services Act, 2001 to enable members of the transgender community to apply for the same," states the petition.
The petition also highlights that the third gender cannot apply for government jobs as it is based on the binary system.
In addition, the petition states that though the Supreme Court order recognised transgender people as the third gender, the state government has failed to uphold the fundamental rights of such individuals and is in violation of article 14, 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution of India.
After hearing the petitioners, the bench directed the state government, Maharashtra Public Services Commission and the Transgender Welfare Board of Maharashtra to respond to the PIL within two weeks and posted a hearing of the PIL after four weeks.
India's State Of Trans Employment
As per Outlook, as per the 2011 census, the trans population makes up 4.88 lakh in India. However, a small percentage receives employment opportunities.
According to a National Human Rights Commission study in 2018, 96 per cent of transgender people are denied jobs and are forced to opt for low paying or undignified work for livelihood like badhais, begging and sex work. The first study on the rights of transgender people also revealed that about 92 per cent of the transgender population is deprived of the right to participate in any economic activity in India, with even qualified ones refused jobs.
Although several private firms have included queer-friendly policies at workplaces, making 'inclusion' their prime focus, there have been fewer statements from leaders to ease the employment activities of trans people.