The recent decision of the West Bengal government to allow people from the transgender community to apply for state government jobs under ‘general’ category is all set to face legal challenges as a prominent face of the transgender rights movement has decided to move the Calcutta High Court challenging the decision as a violation of a Supreme Court judgement on this count.
Ranjita Sinha, former member of the West Bengal Transgender Development Board and one of the most popular faces of transgender rights movement in the state, told IANS that the decision of the state government to allow people from the community to apply for state government jobs under general category is a clear violation of the apex court’s verdict of 2014, which ordered reservation for people from the ‘third gender’ in the spheres of education and employment.
“Following the spirit of the Supreme Court order, a number of states, including Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra, introduced reservation for the community in certain categories of state government jobs. In such a situation, West Bengal government’s decision to allow people from the transgender community to apply for state government jobs under general category is nothing but an eyewash, and totally against the spirit of the apex court judgement. Hence, we have decided to move the Calcutta High Court against this move and demand reservation as provided by some other state governments,” Sinha told IANS.
Even some of the reputed legal brains echoed Sinha’s views on this count.
According to senior advocate of the Calcutta High Court and CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, without the provision of reservation, jobs under general category really does not help the people belonging to the transgender community, who have been deprived for years of their legitimate rights.
“So, in a way, the decision of the West Bengal government is against the spirit of the Supreme Court judgement and the people from the community are justified if they challenge the decision in court,” Bhattacharya said.
Senior counsel of Calcutta High Court, Kaushik Gupta, said that it is unfortunate that the executive machinery of the state has twisted the legal provisions to bypass the spirit of the Supreme Court order.
However, state ministers like Chandrima Bhattacharya and Manas Bhunia have their own logic.
According to them, the decision to give the transgender community equal right to apply under general category is as per the provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, which speaks of provisions for protection of rights of transgender persons and their welfare and for matters connected therewith.
“So, we are not going for the reservation part at this moment,” Bhunia said.