Karnataka: Police invite applications from transgenders; community members happy about decision

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In a landmark move, the police department invited applications from the members of the transgender community for the post of special reserve sub-inspector in Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) and Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB).

Notably, the Karnataka High Court earlier this year asked the government to provide 1 per cent reservation to transgenders in state-owned enterprises.

Following the court order, the Karnataka government had issued a notification extending 1 per cent reservation to transgenders in any service or post in all categories of employment to be filled through the direct recruitment process.

The police department has kept five of 70 seats reserved for transgenders, the notification for which was issued on Monday. The eligible candidates can apply online till January 18.

Apart from this, three posts have been reserved for transgender candidates in the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for Scene of Crime Officer (SOCO). The applications can be submitted till January 15.

The amendment to Rule 9 of the Karnataka Civil Services (General Recruitment) Rules, 1977, which was notified in July this year also directed the recruiting authorities to provide a separate column to allow applicants to identify as ‘others’, apart from male or female.

The Karnataka government will follow the definition of ‘transgender person’ as described in the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, of the Union government. As per the act, a ‘transgender person’ is one whose gender does not match with the gender assigned to them at birth, and includes transman or transwoman, a person with intersex variations, genderqueer and those who have socio-cultural identities such as kinnar, hijra, aravani and jogta.

“In all direct recruitment, one percentage of vacancies set apart… in each of the categories of General Merit, SC, ST and in each of the categories among Other Backward Classes, subject to any general instruction that may be issued by the government regarding the manner of appointment, be filled from among transgender candidates,” the amendment read.

In June this year, the government submitted the draft notification to the Karnataka High Court during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a non-profit organisation, Sangama, and activist Nisha Gulur.

The rules also specify that if a sufficient number of eligible transgender people are not available, the vacancies should be filled by male or female candidates from the same category.

Members of the transgender community welcomed the police notification. Transgender folk dancer Matha B Manjamma Jogati, who was honoured with a Padma Shri award for her contribution to arts by President Ram Nath Kovind in November this year, said, “This is a great news and the transgender community should be proud and happy about it. Finally, the transgenders in the state can become police officers. Earlier, we were scared of the police as transgenders. Now, our people are set to become police officials.”

Speaking to indianexpress.com, prominent transgender activist Akkai Padmashali said, “The decision taken by the Karnataka Police department is a welcome news. It is also the result of a long fight for equal rights by the sexual minorities. The Karnataka police academy, senior police officials and the media played a huge role in this and today the police department is ready to recruit transgenders in the department.”

Akkai, who is also the founder-member of Ondede (meaning ‘convergence’ in Kannada), an organisation that aims to create awareness about sexual minorities, is now planning to conduct awareness programmes about the police notification.

“Now, the responsibility lies with the government, police department and also the community. Our organisation will motivate community members to take up this job,” Akkai added.

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