Supreme Court today clarified that gays and lesbians will not get benefit under the OBC category as they are not included in the definition of ‘third gender’ like the transgenders.
The statement from a bench of justice A K Sikri and justice N V Ramana came on a clarification sought by the Social Justice and Empowerment ministry which had been directed to provide reservation for transgenders in PSU jobs and education sector.
The bench also asked the Centre not to waste time asking such clarification and begin steps to provide reservation to the transgenders which was ordered by the court vide a detailed judgment in April 2014.
The apex court, in its April 2014 judgement, had said transgenders should be recognized as the third gender' but along with that it had also acknowledged their right to declare themselves either male or female. Now, this is creating some difficulty for those making their identity cards. So, we have filed a review petition in the court seeking clarity on this. We also want to know if people belonging to the gay and lesbian community also fall in this category.According to the ministry, transgender persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have also flagged issues about them being given the status of OBC, saying they are not able to access the benefits which they were entitled to as SCs and STs.
“We also wanted clarity on these issues and have sought the guidance of the apex court. Clarity on these will help in the better implementation of the directives”, the ministry had said.
The Supreme Court judgment of April 2014 had paved the way for lakhs of transgender people to join the mainstream
Upholding their demand for equal treatment with males and females, the court had directed the Central and state governments to treat transgender people as "socially and educationally backward classes" and to give them reservation in educational institutions and for appointment in PSUs.
Significantly, the court also said that if a person surgically changes his or her sex, then the person is entitled to the changed sex and cannot be discriminated against, as widely happens.
"By recognising transgender as third gender, this court is not only upholding the rule of law but also advancing justice to the class, so far deprived of their legitimate natural and constitutional rights," a bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and A.K. Sikri had said.Authorities were directed to take steps to remove several problems faced by the community such as fear, shame, depression, and social stigma.