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S. THARIKA BANU VS. HEALTH & FAMILY WELFARE DEPARTMENT

Read the full judgement here
citation:

2018 (2) CTC 683

court:

High Court of Madras

judges:

Justice N. Kirubakaran

KEY FACTS:

Tharika Banu applied for an undergraduate degree at Siddha Medicine and Surgery (BSMS). She had applied under the Scheduled Caste (SC) and transgender category. However, Tharika’s admission core fell under the qualificatory score of 50% by a small margin. Consequently, Tharika did not qualify for BSMS’ merit list and her application was rejected.

ISSUES & DECISION:

The issue before the court was whether Tharika should be granted admission to the BSMS course. First, the Court considered Tharika’s background and circumstances. Tharika was from an SC background and had run away from her home. She had faced severe social stigma for being a transgender woman. The Court also referred to NALSA v Union of India to recognize the psychological and physiological trauma faced by transgender persons.

Next, it considered the qualificatory score of 50%. The Court declared that the qualificatory score was only applicable to (cisgender) men and women. The Court lauded Tharika for aspiring for higher education. It held her eligible for admission to the BSMS course. The Court concluded that transgender persons who wish to receive higher education, must not be discouraged by technicalities.

SIGNIFICANCE:

NALSA v Union of India directed governments to institute reservations for transgender persons. The Court brought attention to the inaction of the Government in this regard. Thus, it directed the Government of Tamil Nadu to frame guidelines to implement reservations for transgender persons.