K. Prithika Yashini was a transgender woman who applied for the post of Sub-Inspector. The selection process consisted of three steps: a written test, physical test and viva voce (oral examination). Despite the Supreme Court judgment in NALSA v Union of India, the application form for the selection did not account for “third gender” applicants.
Prithika approached the Court to appear for the written examination and received favourable orders, allowing her to participate. Prithika did not qualify for the next round of selection. However, she received favourable orders from the Court to participate in the next round of selection.
She completed the 100-meter sprint as part of the physical test 1.11 seconds later than the cut-off time. Prithika received favourable orders to appear for the viva voce. However, she was disqualified from completing the selection process on the basis of the 1.11-second delay in her physical test.
ISSUES & DECISION :
The Court had to decide whether the 1.11-second delay in the 100-meter sprint was sufficient grounds to disqualify Prithika’s application.
The Court noted that no one understood the discrimination faced by the transgender community. It recounted the harassment inflicted on Prithika throughout the selection process, which required her to go to court at each stage to assert her rights.
Finally, the court argued that a 1.11 seconds difference in a physical test should not become an obstacle for her recruitment. Thus, it held that Prithika should be considered for the post of Sub-Inspector. The court further noted the lack of representation of the transgender community amongst constables. It argued that Prithika’s selection would have a broader social impact on the transgender community.
In this case, the Court paid attention to the discrimination faced by the transgender community which can limit opportunities for employment. It also noted the significance of public employment opportunities for transgender persons, not only for their individual benefit but for the community’s representation.