Even as the Supreme Court in April this year, in a landmark judgment, recognised transgenders as “third gender” and allowed them admission in educational institutions, none of the universities in the state except the Gujarat University has incorporated the “third category” in their applications forms so far. The apex court also ordered to consider “third gender” as OBC.
Authorities of many a universities said that they had also not received any notification or circular from the state Higher Education Department for incorporating the “third gender” in universities’ literature wherever it is a must to mention the gender identity of the person joining the university.
Inquiries from several universities in the state also revealed that they had also not received any application for admission from transgenders. The authorities of different universities also expressed ignorance about the number of transgender people, if any, studying in the institutions under them.
Gujarat University Vice-Chancellor M N Patel said that he had incorporated “third gender” in all its admission forms and other materials where there was a need to mention the gender or sex of the person.
“I ordered it to be incorporated immediately after the SC orders in April this year,” said Patel.
Veer Narmad South Gujarat University (VNSGU) V-C Dakshesh Thakar said that since printing orders for various stationery materials for the current academic year had been placed before the apex court order came, it could not be implemented from this year. “We will do it certainly from the next year,” said Thakar.
Stating that there was not even a single case of a transgender studying in the institutions affiliated to his university, he said,
“This may be due to the social stigma attached with the transgender community. There may be some transgender candidates studying in our colleges, but they may not have revealed their correct gender because of the negative reaction of the people with them and would have got enrolled as male or female.”
“Moreover, there was no recognition of third gender in our institutions. We only registered people as male or female. So, transgenders had not alternative other than identifying themselves as male or female. And that is why we don’t have any official record of transgenders in our institutions,” Thakar added.
When questioned about the issue, in-charge V-C of the Central University of Gujarat (CUG) E V Ramachandran said, “Admission process in CUG began in March this year, much before the SC judgment came. Hence, the column for transgender could not be incorporated in the admissions this year. But it will be incorporated from the next academic year.”
Shree Somnath Sanskrit University V-C V K Sastry, when asked about the issue, said that he was aware of the apex court’s ruling in the matter, but lamented that it could not be introduced from the current academic year.
Gujarat Technological University (GTU) V-C Akshay Aggarwal said that while the university did not handle admissions, it would implement the ruling in the matter of appointment of faculty and other staff.
Bhavnagar University V-C D R Khorat candidly admitted that there was no awareness about the matter and that could be the reason for the non-implementation of the order.
Another university official said that government notification from the state Education Department in this regard would ensure its full implementation.
Principal Secretary (Higher Education) Sangita Singh could not be contacted despite several attempts.