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Two years after the Supreme Court passed a judgment making it mandatory for government offices to include the ‘third gender’ in all its forms, the West Bengal State Administrative Tribunal on Monday issued an order directing the state government to amend all its online as well as off-line forms to include the “others’’ column or the third gender.
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The order was in the case of petitioner Atri Kar, a transgender applicant who found no column available by which to identify her gender. The order was today issued by the Tribunal’s Chairperson Justice Amit Talukdar who has also given Kar permission to fill up her form off line and has directed the West Bengal Public Commission to accept her application as a transgender.
This is the first such order issued in the state although this is not the first such case filed. Kar herself filed a case in the Kolkata High Court two weeks ago after finding that she was unable to sit for the West Bengal civil services examination. “But this is the first such order in the state and is therefore landmark,’’says Kar’s lawyer Aindreeya Chakraborty.
“The form issued by the Public Service Commission West Bengal for the post of West Bengal Civil Service Examination 2017 advertisement number 21/2016 only male and Female options have been incorporated in the column against Gender. The applicant will be permitted to submit the form for the West Bengal civil service off line after incorporating Gender of the applicant and the public service commission will accept the application’’says the judgment.
“This has been a long battle. I first raised the issue with the Education department in 2011. I had just completed my BEd and had applied for a job with the government. I had taken the School Service Commission examination and had qualified. At that point even the Supreme Court order had not been given. The Education department had told me that since I had given the examination as a female that’s how I would be recruited,’’says Kar.
I resident of Hooghly and a primary school teacher, the 27 year old Kar adds that over the years she has shifted from one school to another. “The first school I was assigned to I had faced a lot of bullying and harassment by other teachers because of who I am. Then a gentleman Subarna Mandal gave me a position in his school. But while he was progressive and had awareness regarding the issue, the other teachers in his school did not. So I started facing the same kind of harassment as I did in the first school. He later shifted me to a third school where all the teachers have been very accepting and supportive of me,’’says Kar.