Third Gender Candidates are entitled to special reservation: Madras High Court

In  a recent judgment the Madras High Court observed that special reservation must be given to the people who recognise themselves as transgender  in the admissions for Post Basic (Nursing) Course. The matter was between Tamilselvi v. The Secretary to Government and others (W.P. No.26506 of 2022) and was presided over by Hon’ble Mr. Justice R. Suresh Kumar.


Nursing student petitioner submitted an application for a diploma in nursing course for women in 2018–19. There was no distinct reservation for the third gender, or transgender people, even though community reservation was offered for the aforementioned courses. In response to her petition for relief, the high court ordered the administrators to reserve one spot in the diploma in nursing programme for women for the 2018–19 academic year under a specific category for transgender students. She was allowed a place for the course while that lawsuit was pending, and she finished it successfully in 2021.

This year, the petitioner submitted an application for the Post Basic B.Sc. (Nursing) and Diploma in Psychiatric Nursing Course programmes. She was listed at 280 but was only given consideration as a female candidate as opposed to a transgender candidate. She came back toward the court.


The hon’ble court upheld the right of the petitioner and stated that she is entitled to get reservation under transgender category. The deferment from the same would be against the judgment given in National Legal Services Authority case (hereafter NALSA) and the provisions of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019. The court further directed the state Health and Family Welfare Department and Directorate of Medical Education to provide special reservation to the third gender/ transgender in the admissions for Post Basic (Nursing) Course. 

The hon’ble court did not accept the state’s argument that no reservation was provided as there were less numbers of transgender people in the state and the seats would be left vacant. The court mentioned that the non-inclusion was against the basic spirit of the landmark judgmnet of the NALSA case.

The court further instructed the authorities to develop a separate merit list of just transgender applicants for the course and provide admission based on inter se merit among them in the event that any further transgender candidates applied for the course.

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