The Kerala High Court on Monday ruled that Hina Haneefa, a transgender woman, should be allowed admisson to the National Cadet Corps or NCC on the basis of her self-identified gender. Hina identifies as a woman, and will therefore be allowed to join NCC women’s wing as per this order.
Justice Anu Sivaraman delivered the judgment based on a plea by Hina filed in October 2020. Hina had filed the petition challenging section 6 of the National Cadet Corps Act 1948 that only allowed ‘males’ or ‘females’ to join the NCC as cadets and does not mention transgender candidates. In her petition she also added that she was an active member of the NCC during her school days and has even received an A certificate. Hina had applied to join as a woman cadet, since the Act did not mention taking transgender cadets.
Delivering the verdict, the judge said the petitioner who had chosen female gender and had even undergone a sex reassignment surgery and ‘is definitely entitled to enrolment in NCC unit reckoning her as transgender and further as a member of her self perceived gender i.e female.”
Importantly, the verdict also stated that the provisions of the NCC Act cannot be independent of the provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019 which prohibits discrimination against the trans community. The court added that Hina was entitled to join the NCC, Senior Girls Division and that rejecting her request for the same is not sustainable.
Hina had filed the petition with the help of lawyers Raghul Sudheesh, CR Sudheesh, Lakshmi J, Glaxon KJ and Sanish Sasi Raj. The petition states that the petitioner who was assigned male at birth underwent two sex reassignment surgeries and was given the Transgender Identity Card under the Kerala government’s Transgender Policy 2015.
Hina’s petition also stated that apart from declaring section 6 of the NCC as unconstitutional, she also be allowed to participate in the enrolment process as interim relief.
Both the NCC and the central government had challenged Hina’s petition stating that any amendments to the NCC Act have to be deliberated by an advisory committee.
According to reports, the NCC counsel also argued that it is the prerogative of the NCC to decide when transgender persons should be allowed admission. However, the bench rejected this argument. Justice Anu Sivaraman strongly observed that the government is duty bound to comply with the 2014 Supreme Court judgement of NALSA Vs Union of India.