A trans-woman has moved the Kerala High Court challenging Section 6 of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) Act which allows only males and females to enrol with the Corps. When she applied for this year’s enrolment process, she was informed that she could not apply as a transgender person. In spite of repeated requests, her representations were not acted upon, the petition records. Challenging the exclusion as arbitrary, the petitioner emphasizes that the inclusion of sexual minorities such as transgender persons is necessary to address the rampant marginalization and discrimination faced by them.
The NCC’s exclusion of transgender people went against the Supreme Court’s ruling in NALSA v. Union of India, the Union Government’s own policy of inducting those who identified as transgender into the elite paramilitary forces, as well as the State of Kerala’s system in this regard. The Transgender (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 has also been referred to highlight the State policy of protecting transgender.
The petitioner, presently a student at the University College, Thiruvananthapuram, underwent two sex reassignment surgeries and obtained a transgender identity card under the Kerala government’s Transgender Policy, 2015. The University itself had a policy allowing transgender persons to pursue their studies without social discrimination, the petition states. Despite all of this, the National Cadet Corps Act, only allows male and female students to enrol in the Corps, which, the petitioner highlights, is unconstitutional. Apart from a declaration from the Court that Section 6 of the NCC Act is unconstitutional; the petitioner has also urged the Court’s intervention to allow her to be part of the enrolment process this year as interim relief. The petitioner has further called on the Court to direct the National Cadet Corps to amend their enrolment criteria suitably.