The Supreme Court of India in NALSA vs. UOI case held that transgender/third gender persons were entitled to fundamental rights under the Constitution of India. The judgement directed Centre and State Governments to recognise transgender persons as a “socially and economically backward class”. This was to who are entitled to reservations in cases of admission in educational institutions and public employment.
TAMIL NADU BACKWARD CLASSES COMMISSION
The Supreme Court Order was referred to the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes Commission (henceforth: the “Commission”). The Commission is in charge of examining which communities must be included in the “Backward Classes” list. This Commission was constituted by the Tamil Nadu government in 1993 as per the directions of the Supreme Court in Indira Sawhney vs. Union of India.
The Commission recommended that transgender persons should be included in the list of “Most Backward Classes” (“MBC”)based on multiple factors. First, it highlighted that the Supreme Court had taken judicial notice of the stigma and discrimination faced by transgender persons, which is likely to reduce their access to society, education, and employment. Further, it recognised that transgender persons were identified as “criminal tribes” in the past. Finally, the social, educational, and economic status of transgender persons is even worse than that of scheduled castes. Thus, their status is likely to improve if they can access reservations as “MBC”.
The Tamil Nadu government examined the recommendation of the commission and decided to include “transgender or eunuch (thirunangai or aravani)” in its list of “Most Backward Classes” on 29th July, 2008 (Sl. No 36C of schedule IV in Government Order No 85 dated 29 July 2008). It stated that transgenders were eligible to reservations in education and public employment, as are applicable to those listed under “Most Backward Classes”.
This order also directed government officials to issue “MBC” certificates to transgender persons on the basis of which they may access reservations. It noted that these certificates would be issued to persons who had been recognised as transgender by the Tamil Nadu Transgender Welfare Board.
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