NEW DELHI: In a major gender reform, the home ministry is set to allow induction of transgenders as ‘third gender’ into the central armed police forces. The ministry is at the concluding stage of consultations with central paramilitary forces — BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF and SSB — on incorporating transgender, along with male and female, in the rules for the recruitment examination for assistant commandants in central forces, starting this year.
The move follows enactment of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, in December last year. The Act prohibits discrimination against a transgender person in matters like education, employment, healthcare services, accommodation, right to acquire property and other public services and facilities. In a circular on April 20, the department of personnel and training had requested all central ministries and departments to modify examination rules and provide for inclusion of ‘transgender’ as a separate category of gender, in conformity with the Act.
Once formalised, the decision will mark a breakthrough for transgender rights, particularly in the tradition-bound paramilitary. The move can be expected to spur recruitment of transgenders in other areas, including the armed forces and police organisations. Last year, Chhattisgarh had announced that transgenders would be eligible for police jobs.
In a letter to inspectors general (personnel) of BSF, CRPF, ITBP, SSB and CISF a few weeks ago, the home ministry had sought comments regarding the proposed inclusion of ‘third gender’ as an option for applicants for the CAPF (assistant commandants) examination, 2020. While BSF submitted a positive feedback soon after, CRPF, ITBP, SSB and CISF had not responded till June 30.
On Wednesday, the MHA sent a reminder to CRPF, ITBP, SSB and CISF, asking them to respond by 9am on July 2, so that a final view could be reached. The central paramilitary forces have a combined strength of over 10 lakh personnel.
The Modi government has taken several steps for inclusion of the transgender community, for long-denied government jobs as candidates could apply and appear for recruitment exams only in male or female category. As per Clause 9 of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, no establishment shall discriminate against any transgender person in any matter relating to employment, including but not limited to, recruitment, promotion and other related issues.
The first transgender officer to be inducted in the police forces was sub-inspector K Prithika Yashini in Tamil Nadu in 2017. She had applied for the post of sub-inspector but was rejected. She challenged the rejection in Madras HC, which ordered a written test for her.