Karnataka state government has formulated a draft amendment for Karnataka Civil Services (General Recruitment) rules to provide 1% reservation in all government jobs, under every category for transgender people. The government informed the High Court of this development through a memo during the hearing of a petition filed by NGO Sangama.
The petition had objected that appointment notifications for government jobs only called for 'male' and 'female' applicants despite the NALSA judgement of the Supreme Court asking state governments to ensure reservation for transgender people in government jobs. It went on to state that the now-impugned notification affects the constitutional and fundamental rights of the transgender people in Karnataka.
When the High court sought response from the state government regarding the objections raised by the petitioner, the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms shared a memo about the proposed amendment. It said that the government was considering to reserve 1% of vacancies to be filled in each category including General Merit, SC, ST and in each of the categories among other Backward Classes for transgender people. It also said application forms for government jobs will soon have a separate column of "Others" for people belonging to the third gender.
The memo reiterated that these amendments were still under consideration, and a formal notification will be issued by the state government once a decision is reached.
The transgender community is happy with the news, though they do feel it is not completely in accordance with the provisions promised under the NALSA judgement and wonder if it is mere lip service.
Transgender activist Sowmya Gupta said the community has been awaiting such concrete changes since seven years. However, she pointed out some roadblocks in the implementation of this reservation, if it comes through. "The decision provides reservation in jobs without providing the same in educational institutions, as suggested by the SC. Also, such vacancies often require skills and qualifications that very few from the community would have," she explained.
She believes that this amounts to the government providing the opportunity but the community not being able to benefit from it without allocation of sufficient resources. "We should also not forget the reservation guaranteed by the SC was 2%," added Sowmya.