The Madras High Court issued a notice to the Chief Secretary and State Public Service Commission chairman and another official on a petition to permit transgenders to appear in exams by creating a separate class or group for them.
The first bench, comprising Chief Justice RK Agrawal and Justice M Sathyanarayanan directed officials, including the secretary of Tamil Nadu Social Welfare department, to file their reply on or before November 27.
The PIL was filed by five transgenders, including one Swapna. The petitioner contended that Article 14 of the Constitution clearly states that "the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India".
Article 14 forbids class legislation but does not forbid reasonable classification for the purpose of legislation. The petitioner contended that the words "any person" occurring in Article 14 is inclusive of the transgender other than male and female, "which is not extended in true spirit and intent as far as transgenders are concerned."
Even though the Election Commission has introduced the option of "other" for voting purpose, the petitioner said the legal validity of this executive order on the right to contest in the elections is not clear.
Though the state government was able to recognise them as Thirunangais and a Welfare Board was formed, the petitioner submitted that no facilities by way of any reservation or by way of giving some special Status was considered by the Government till date.
Swapna said even though she has applied for the Group II examinations she was not issued hall ticket till date and she was constrained to file the plea only because of that.
She sought a direction to the respondents to permit her to appear in the examination and also prayed to direct them to create 3 per cent reservation in the field of education and employment opportunities for transgenders.