Allow transpersons, amend National Cadet Corps Act: Kerala High Court
The Kerala High Court on Monday ruled that Hina Haneefa, a 23-year-old transgender person, should be enrolled in the National Cadet Corps (NCC). Hearing a petition filed by her, justice Anu Sivaraman observed that a transgender person is entitled to enrol in the NCC in accordance with her self-perceived gender equality.
Delivering the judgment, the court directed the Union government to amend Section 6 of the National Cadet Corps Act (1948) which excludes transgender persons from joining the NCC.
“I am the happiest person today. More than my personal victory, I opened the door for my community members. It is just the beginning. I hope eventually we can join the armed forces also,” said Haneefa, a first year degree student of the University College in Thiruvananthapuram. She moved the high court last year after authorities turned down her bid to join the NCC.
In her plea, she contended that she had joined the NCC at the age of 13 when she was in the school. At that time she was enrolled as a boy cadet. Two years back, she had undergone gender affirmation sex transformation surgery and enrolled at the University College for the degree course. But when she tried to enrol in the NCC she was denied admission saying it was against the existing Act.
The court held that she was entitled to enrolment in the senior girl’s division of the NCC and that the rejection of her request was unsustainable. It said NALSA judgment of 2014 and the Transgender Act of 2020 overrides the argument of the defence ministry that there were no provisions to enrol transgender persons.
“What we need is acceptance, not sympathy. Though Kerala is the first state to come out with an exclusive transgender policy and transgender justice board, attitude of the society will have to change,” said Haneefa, adding her fight was not for her alone but for the entire community.
She said employment and accommodation remain two major challenges to the community in the state and expressed confidence things will change.
“It is a historic verdict. Equal opportunity is a constitutional right. This will open many eyes,” said Shyma S Praha, state transgender cell nodal officer.