65 students seek DU seats under transgender quota

This year, 65 out of over 2.25 lakh applicants declared themselves as transgenders in their online submission for 54,000 undergraduate seats in DU.

Delhi University Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh is expected to hold a meeting soon to deliberate on the varsity’s preparedness to integrate these students. DU for the first time had introduced the third gender option in its registration forms for undergraduate courses.

It is still unclear whether transgender students can claim reservation under the OBC quota. The Supreme Court in its pathbreaking judgement in April 2014 had granted “third gender” status to hijras or transgenders.

“The Supreme Court had ruled that transgenders will be considered as OBCs, but there has been no notification from the government on this, so reservation in OBC category has not happened yet,” Professor Rajesh from DU’s Department of Adult Education said.

Process unclear

The process of determining who qualifies for reservation also remains unclear since the university hasn’t decided on the paperwork to be produced to ascertain gender.
“Right now, there is no clear cut process. Some colleges are taking affidavits. We are thinking of using letters of gurus under whom most transgenders usually live valid for determining their identity. Things like rent agreements may also be used,” said Rajesh, who is also a member of the National Committee on transgender community.
Transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi said such a policy may find little success.

“What universities need to focus on is to create a single window process for transgender students, and not to embroil in piles of paperwork,” she said.

DU officials point out that integration of transgender students with other students may prove to be the biggest challenge in the absence of proper infrastructure and an anti-sexual harrasment law.

In a regressive move, last year, Delhi University scrapped ordinance 15D, which was its gender neutral anti-harassment law in favour of a new law that recognises only women
as victims of sexual harrassment.

“Transgender students across universities remain vulnerable to ragging, teasing and abuse. One of the basic things any college can do in that regard is to make a separate toilet for transgender students, since washrooms are places where students are targetted the most,” Tripathi said.

The DU Cluster Innovation Centre recently inaugurated the first toilet for transgender students, but the varsity still has a long way to go.

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