By Shikha Sharma | New Delhi | Published:June 18, 2015 1:16 am, Indian Express
While 65 out of over 2.25 lakh applicants marked themselves as transgenders in their Delhi University online applications forms this year, there are no clear clear guidelines regarding their integration into the system. DU vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh is expected to hold a meeting soon to deliberate on measures that can be taken. Meanwhile, confusion over different things like the reservation system for transgenders, separate washrooms, financial assistance and an anti-harassment cell still prevail. It is unclear if transgender students can claim reservation under the OBC quota. However, in its judgment granting “third gender” status for hijras and transgenders, the Supreme Court had ruled that the those in the third gender category will be considered as OBCs. “Despite the court ruling, there has been no notification from the government on this. So reservation in the OBC category has not happened yet,” Professor Rajesh from the Department of Adult Education said.
DU officials are also unsure of which colleges the students can study in. According to senior officials, those who declared themselves as “third gender” may only be able to study in co-ed colleges. “Surely, they cannot seek admission in women’s colleges if they claim to be transgenders?” a DU official said. The process of determining who qualifies as a transgender student and the paperwork to be produced to ascertain gender is also under a cloud of doubt. “Right now, there is no clear process. Some colleges are taking affidavits. But in the future, we are thinking of using letters of gurus under whom most transgenders usually live for determining their identity. Things like rent agreements may also be used,” Prof Rajesh said. According to transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, such a policy may find little success. “Colleges need to focus on creating a one-window process for transgender students. A better idea would be for colleges to work with local NGOs to identify such students,” she said. However, integration of transgender students with others may prove to be the biggest challenge in the absence of proper infrastructure. DU’s anti-sexual harassment law also has little to offer to sexual minorities. In a regressive move last year, Delhi University scrapped ordinance 15D — which was the university’s gender neutral anti-harassment law — in favour of a new law that recognises only women as victims of sexual harassment. “Transgender students across universities are vulnerable to ragging, teasing and abuse. One of the basic things any college can do in that regard is to make a separate toilet for transgender students, since washrooms are places where students are targeted the most,” Laxmi said. DU too is planning to take pro-active steps soon. “An inter-sectoral meeting will be held in July where stakeholders from colleges, NGOs and the university will be called to find better ways to integrate these students,” Professor Rajesh said.
The University had introduced an option for ‘third gender’ in its 2014 postgraduate admission forms, and in its undergraduate forms this year.
No ‘third gender’ in exam forms till SC clarification, UPSC tells HC
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that the ‘transgender’ category had not yet been clearly defined by the Supreme Court and, therefore, it cannot include it as a ‘third gender’ in its application form. In an affidavit submitted to the vacation bench of Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice P S Teji, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said that it has moved the Supreme Court seeking clarification on the definition of transgenders as well as who would be able to certify them as a third gender.
The affidavit further states that the DoPT can frame rules for the benefit of transgenders — which includes providing reservation for them — once the apex court clarifies the issue. Following the submissions, the court has refused to issue a stay on the Civil Services Preliminary exam that is scheduled to be held on August 23. The affidavits were filed in response to a PIL by advocate Jamshed Ansari, who had sought directions to include the transgender category in the UPSC examination forms. -ENS