Kerala High Court keeps transman’s police dreams alive

The HC said the view of the tribunal is within the framework of the Constitution of India and the Act of Parliament.

Published: 24th March 2023 08:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2023 03:58 PM   |  A+A-

Arjun Geetha

Arjun Geetha

Express News Service

KOCHI: It was the dream of Arjun Geetha to don police uniform. But his hopes were dashed when he was deemed ineligible to apply due to his identity as a transgender. The legal battle that ensued has given the 27-year-old a new ray of hope, with the Kerala High Court dismissing an appeal filed by the Public Service Commission against a Kerala Administrative Tribunal (KAT) order. 

KAT had directed PSC to permit the transman to submit an application for the post of sub-inspector of police (trainee) with the Armed Police Battalion. The commission was also asked to process the application purely on a provisional basis, subject to further orders. The HC said the view of the tribunal is within the framework of the Constitution of India and the Act of Parliament.

In response to the HC order, Arjun, who now works as a senior compliance associate with Amazon in Bengaluru, told TNIE the order will empower the trans community. “I have dreamed of becoming a police officer since childhood. After my transition as a man, I tried to fulfil my dream. However, there was no provision for transmen to apply for the post. Following this order, I hope I can attend the examination,” said Arjun, who underwent sex reassignment surgery.

Arjun, who completed his MSc in mathematics, said it was painful that PSC moved the HC challenging KAT’s order. This was done when the state government is seeking to reverse the brain drain of youths looking to migrate abroad for employment. “I completed the application process following the KAT order,” he said.

Adv Thulasi K Raj, the counsel for Arjun, said he was deemed ineligible to apply as the notification specified male or female candidates. “Besides, by not providing for the relaxed physical requirements for transgenders, the notification falls foul of the law. As the applicant doesn’t possess the minimum physical standards prescribed for either male or female candidates, he was unsuccessful in submitting the application. Hence, it’s discriminatory,” said Adv Thulasi, who added that Arjun’s employment opportunity is protected by the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

The PSC contended that consideration for the post was limited to male candidates. Therefore, the tribunal order is completely illegal and liable to be set aside, it said. The court said the denial of opportunity would be contrary to the protection given to the trans community by Parliament. It also observed the state government should examine the protection granted to transgenders under the Act and do the needful to prevent subjecting them to avoidable litigation.


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