At a time when a number of organisations and social activists are fighting seriously for the social rights of transgenders, sadly there is no provision that allows the community members to appear for the competitive examinations conducted by the UPSC and TNPSC, both government bodies.
This came to light through an RTI appeal filed by a Madurai-based 23-year-transgender, Swapna.
Swapna, who has been undergoing training for civil service examination, filed an RTI application to know whether transgenders have any special provision or reservation in competitive examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission and the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission.
The transgender in her RTI application to the UPSC on March 4 had sought details such as whether transgender are eligible for the examinations conduct by the commission; is there any special circular to know why a column for third sex has not been provided in the application form; is there any government order which provides reservation for transgender like being given to schedule caste/schedule tribes, other backward classes and is there any criteria to know their physical condition (whether they are physical male and mental female), like the special criteria followed for differently-abled persons, to explain their disability in the application form. The UPSC, which took nearly 24 days to respond to her queries, directed Swapna to seek answers for all her queries from the Government .
However, her application was rejected by the UPSC on flimsy grounds. The reply of UPSC dated March 28 reads, “… Your application was not accompanied by the requisite fee of `10 in the prescribed mode under the RTI Act, 2005, it cannot be treated as an RTI application..,”
“I have filed the RTI application along with two five rupee court stamps, why can’t they consider this,” wonders Swapna.
But, the transgenders’ attempts did not stop with this. Swapna then submitted a separate RTI application with the district social welfare department.