Assam has reportedly become the first state in India to include the "transgender" option in the gender category in the form for civil service examinations.
According to a news report by Guwahati Plus, 42 transgender aspirants have filled the APSC form this year and have applied for posts like the ACS junior grade. In the application procedure recently started by the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC), the transgender option was included in the gender category.
Swati Bidhan Baruah, associate vice-chairperson of the Assam State Transgender Welfare Board, told the daily that while this is a welcome move, other special steps need to be taken to make the application procedure more inclusive. Baruah said that reservations should be made and detailed Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs need to be issued.
APSC chairman Pallab Bhattacharya told Hindustan Times that initially such a category had not been created when the exam notification was released in September. The board then checked with UPSC where transgender persons are allowed to apply for the exams under the "other" category. The state government was subsequently informed and a "transgender" category was created.
In 2018, 28-year-old Atri Kar became the first transgender person from Bengal to sit for the civil services examination held by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). In 2014, a landmark order by the Supreme Court had recognized transgenders as "third gender" who were previously forced to write "male or female" in forms. The same order also directed that transgender persons be admitted into educational institutions and seek employment under the "third gender" or "other" category.
Despite the Supreme Court verdict, the policy had not been implemented anywhere. When Kar tried to sit for the same exam in 2017, the exam form had only two options - male or female. After fighting the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for two years, Kar got an interim order to sit for the examination.