New Delhi: The UPSC on Wednesday told the Delhi high court that it cannot include transgenders as a third gender for applying for civil services examination as the category was not yet clearly defined by the Supreme Court.
The central government’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) told a bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and P.S. Teji that once the apex court clarifies the issue, then it can frame rules for the benefit of transgenders, which includes providing reservation for them.
The Centre submitted that it has moved the apex court seeking clarification on various issues, including the definition of transgenders as well as who would certify them as a third gender.
The submissions were made by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and DoPT in their affidavits filed before the bench which said it would hear the matter after the apex court takes up the Centre’s application for clarification.
The PIL, which has sought quashing of UPSC’s notice for CSP examination to the extent of the gender or sex eligibility criteria it has laid down for the test, has now been listed for hearing on 27 July.
The petition has contended that lack of the third gender option has resulted in transgenders not being able to apply for examination which is scheduled to be held on 23 August.
During the hearing, the court told the petitioner lawyer, Jamshed Ansari, that there is no definition of transgenders in the medical dictionary, nor are there any identifying features and the apex court had not said who would be the certifying authority, which is why there is “difficulty" in implementing the Supreme Court’s judgement.
UPSC, represented by senior advocate A.S. Chandhiok, said that as per apex court verdict of 5 April 2014, transgenders also include bisexuals, gays and lesbians. DoPT, represented by advocate Navin Chawla and assisted by advocate Kritika Mehra, said it has filed the application for clarification which is expected to be heard after the court vacation.
Meanwhile, Ansari argued that transgender community only comprises hijras, eunuchs, Kothis, Aravanis, Jogappas, Shiv-Shakthis etc. and “they, as a group, have a strong historical presence in our country in the Hindu mythology and other religious texts".
The PIL has also sought addition or inclusion of transgenders as an eligibility criteria or gender option in the online application forms for the exam. The petition has said that if the plea was allowed, “it would benefit the transgender community who are socially excluded from public employment and are suffering from social backwardness in the society".
It has also said that the apex court had directed the Centre and state governments to “take steps to treat transgender community as socially and educationally backward classes of citizens and extend all kinds of reservation in cases of admission in educational institutions and for public appointments".