Enacting laws is absolutely pointless unless our mindset changes: Kerala High Court on NCC denying admission to Transgender persons

Enacting laws is absolutely useless unless we change our mindset, the Kerala High Court observed on Thursday taking exception to the inaction of the Central government in making provisions to allow admission of Transgender persons to National Cadet Corps (NCC).

The plea has been filed by a transgender person challenging her exclusion from NCC because of her gender.

The petition submitted emphasized that the inclusion of sexual minorities such as transgender persons is necessary to address the rampant marginalisation and discrimination they face.

NCC counsel, advocate Daya Sindhu Sreehari highlighted that the NCC Act provides for an advisory committee and that any changes to NCC must be deliberate and decided by the committee .

The Bench questioned NCC whether the advisory committee has in its meetings up until now considered the existence of Transgender persons when taking decisions to which the lawyer responded negatively.
Lawyer Sreehari, however, held that the Court can, at best, order the committee to consider the matter and make a decision. But the Court disagreed.

The NCC counsel maintained that it is the prerogative of the NCC to decide when Transgender persons should be allowed admission.

Counsel for the petitioner said that the law established by the Supreme Court in NALSA is binding and is the law of the land by virtue of Article 141 of the Indian Constitution.
He further said that NCC does not need to make any changes to accommodate the petitioner and the petitioner can be admitted as “female” since she has identified herself as female and the NALSA judgment recognises self-perceived gender identity.

Advocate for intervenor, Arjun Venugopal said that while he is not against the inclusion of Transgender persons in NCC, they have to be included as a third gender and should not be admitted in the category of male or female.

The right to self-perceived gender identity is with respect to the Transgender person calling himself or herself as male or female as he/ she desires but will not extend to availing admissions to NCC wherein a third gender category has to be created for them.

The Court after hearing the parties reserved its judgment.

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