New Delhi: Transgenders will now have the option of identifying themselves as the third gender with the Railway Board modifying reservation forms to provide the option ‘T’, besides ‘M’ (Male) and ‘F’ (Female).
The Railway Board in a letter to all zonal railways has said that ticket booking and cancellation forms will be modified from the current option of ‘Transgender (Male/Female)’ to just ‘T’. According to the letter, the social justice and empowerment ministry is at present dealing with various issues of transgenders and a proposed legislation on this — The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, is being reviewed by a parliamentary standing committee.
“The matter has been reviewed and it has been decided that till such time the detailed modalities on this account are finalised by the Ministry of Social Justice, a provision may be made in the system to capture the gender of transgender as ‘T’ instead of ‘T(M/F)’ as advised earlier,” according to the October 17 letter.
In a landmark judgement in 2014, the Supreme Court created the ‘third gender’ status for hijras or transgenders. Earlier, they had to write male or female in gender column. Following the order, many government documents such as passport, ration card, bank forms and voter identity cards have started providing ‘TG’ (third gender), ‘Other’ or ‘T’ (transgender) as options.
The railways introduced the option as ‘T(M/F)’ through an order in 2016 which, activists said, still forced them to choose between the binary genders — male or female. The Railway Board said in its review it had also taken into consideration directions of the Kolkata High Court which had asked State Bank of India to allow the choice of third gender in its application forms for recruiting new employees.
This case pertains to a case filed by Atri Kar, the first transgender from West Bengal to appear for the civil services exam, who sought the court’s intervention to enforce her right to participate in the selection process of SBI as a transgender.
The Railway Board also said that the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Railways, will make necessary changes in the software for giving the option of transgender (T) alongside the option of M/F in the passenger railway system under intimation to all zonal railways, the letter said.