Kerala High Court allows transwoman to join NCC, suggests changes in enrollment criteria


Kochi: In a landmark judgment, the Kerala High Court allowed a transwoman to enroll in the National Cadet Corps (NCC) on the basis of self-identified gender.

Justice Anu Sivaraman gave the order after receiving a plea from a transwoman, challenging a Section of the National Cadet Corps Act, 1948, which excludes the transgender community from enrollment with the NCC.

In its order, the court said the petitioner is entitled to enrollment in the NCC senior girls division and the denial of the request of the petitioner for such enrollment is completely unsustainable. Observing that the ‘Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019’ recognises the right of transgender persons to a life of dignity, the Court said the provisions of the NCC Act cannot prelude its operation.

The court said in view of the specific provisions of the 2019 Act, a transgender person has the right to be recognised not only as a transgender, but also a right to self-perceived gender identity. “The petitioner will be entitled to participate in the selection process on the basis of her application. If she is successful, the petitioner will be enrolled in NCC Unit”, the court said, according to news agency PTI.’

In November last year, the court had observed that a person cannot be denied legitimate rights merely because he/she is transgender.

The central government counsel had opposed the plea, submitting that the petitioner cannot be included in the enrollment process for NCC unit of the college because she is transgender, though assigning herself the identity of a woman.

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