The invitation of online application for selection of constables in Bihar police is out and the recruitment exam form does not include a column for the transgender or third gender. Male, female and caste-based reservation columns for age limit, application fees etc. were the only ones present in the pre-application details while no third gender option was available in the application blanks for gender and reservation categories in the exam form, which has irked the transgender community at large.
Patna-based transgender person Veera Yadav (30) has filed a petition in Patna High Court against the absence of a separate column for the third gender in the constable recruitment exam form. The Central Selection Board of Constable (CSBC) in Patna undertakes the recruitment process of constables for 8,415 posts that include- Bihar Police, Bihar Home Guard, Bihar Fire Service, Excise, Forest and Transport department.
Veera, who hails from Vaishali district of Bihar, completed her Masters in Social Work (MSW) from Patna University in 2018 after a gap of five years in academic life. She became the first among the transgenders in the state to complete her masters in social work. Speaking to NewsClick, Veera said, “I have filed a plea against the absence of the third gender column in application form of constables to be recruited in the state. All my batchmates are placed in jobs but I am compelled to earn by singing and dancing as the community by large does. It’s like state-sponsored exclusion for educated transgenders who, despite having degrees, have to roam and seek money from others for a livelihood.”
Central Selection Board of Constable
The above screenshot of Central Selection Board of Constable website shows no column for the third gender in the application invited for the constable exam.
Veera informed that at least 3,200 transgender applicants lost the opportunity to sit for the exam as no reservation is availed by the state government. Educated transgenders are continuously losing chance to enhance their livelihood by attaining means to establish social security. “We stand excluded from resources and society, so pleading High court was the only way out,” Veera said,
The petitioner’s advocate, Deepak Kumar Singh of the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), told NewsClick, “In the recent petition, we demand separate reservation for transgenders from the state government as application for constable recruitment shows eligibility only for Male and Female and no third gender. It’s the clear violation of 2014 NALSA judgment that orders protection of transgender rights, but state government has been looking the other way. Instead of considering transgenders as ‘Backward Caste’, government treats them as ‘Other Backward Castes’.”
The neglect towards transgenders in the state came to light during May when Veera submitted a petition regarding financial assistance to be provided to the transgender community in view of their deplorable condition in the wake of the national lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Patna High court issued notice to the Bihar government. The court order said- “Transgender Persons in Bihar were unable to access food because of the lack of ration cards… all the policies framed by the government, whether it be central or state, are to be implemented in letter and in spirit, and members of the Transgender Community shouldn’t be deprived of social security schemes solely on the issue of not having a ration card.”
HRLN, an organisation committed to provide free legal aid and legal literacy programmes, came to the rescue of transgenders in Patna by providing dry ration and food mainly during the lockdown.
Official figure of transgenders in Bihar is 40,000 and 8% of them are higher secondary pass out between age 18-32. As per Reshma Prasad, an expert member of the National Council for Transgender Persons in Patna, the petition seeking reservation for transgenders in state government jobs was a much-needed step. “Besides, the community had to suffer during the lockdown, which says all about our plight. Bihar government must extract lesson from Chhattisgarh were the government recruited transgenders in the police force. If the executive ignores our rights, we seek justice from the judiciary,” Prasad said.
Reshma is the secretary of a non-government organisation named Dostanasafar, which works for transgenders in the state capital with 1,500 members. Dostanasafar had in past undertaken initiatives like napkin distribution in slums, awareness campaign against dowry and child marriage.