Amend the NCC Act: Kerala High Court | 17 Mar 2021

Why in News

Recently, the Kerala High Court ordered the Central government to amend the National Cadet Corps Act (NCC Act) 1948 which excludes transgender persons from joining the National Cadet Corps (NCC).

Key Points

  • Background:
    • A writ petition was filed in 2020 by a student opposing her exclusion from the NCC unit at the college on the basis of her gender (Transgender).
    • The petition challenged Section 6 of the NCC Act, 1948 which only allows either ‘male’ or ‘female’ cadets.
    • Central government argued that transgender persons cannot be allowed into the NCC as there is no provision for the same.
  • High Court’s Order:
    • The court took exception to the position and stressed that it goes contrary to Kerala’s Transgender Policy and other applicable statutes.
    • Observed that a transgender person is entitled to enroll in the NCC in accordance with her self-perceived gender equality.
    • Ordered the central government to amend Section 6 of the NCC Act 1948 within six months so that the law offers equal opportunities for everyone.
  • Kerala’s Transgender Policy:
    • About:
      • Kerala was one of the first states in the country to formulate and implement a welfare policy for transgender persons in 2015.
    • Justice Board:
      • A Transgender Justice Board, aimed to monitor and address concerns where necessary in the implementation of the policy, was formed.
    • No Discrimination:
      • The policy asked for all government offices and public functionaries to extend non-discriminatory treatment to transgender and help provide them with easy access to education, health, transport and social security.
    • Social Benefits:
      • Providing free legal aid to those fighting discrimination, recording statistics at the local police station level for crimes against transgenders, a 24×7 helpline and crisis management centre, a monthly pension scheme for destitutes and those above the age of 55 and establishing shelter homes were some of the policy promises.
    • Educational Programs:
      • In 2018, the government decided to set aside two additional seats for all transgender applicants for courses in universities and arts and science colleges under it.
      • There is also a literacy aid programme for transgender under which a monthly scholarship of up to Rs. 1,250 and shelter home accommodation is provided.

National Cadet Corps

  • The National Cadet Corps Act, 1948:
    • About:
      • It is an Act to provide for the constitution of a National Cadet Corps.
      • It extends to the whole of India and applies to all persons enrolled or appointed under this Act, wherever they may be.
    • Section 6:
      • Any student of the male sex of any university may offer himself for enrolment as a cadet in the Senior Division, and any student of the male sex of any school may offer himself for enrolment as a cadet in the Junior Division if he is of the prescribed age or over.
      • Any student of the female sex of any university or school may offer herself for enrolment as a cadet in the Girls Division:
        • Provided that in the latter case she is of the prescribed age or over.
  • About NCC:
    • The NCC was formed in 1948 (on the recommendation of H. N. Kunzru Committee-1946), and has its roots to British era uniformed youth entities like University Corps or University Officer Training Corps.
      • Currently, it has a strength of around 14 lakh cadets from Army, Navy and Air Force wings.
    • The NCC falls under the purview of the Ministry of Defence and is headed by a Director General of three-star military rank.
    • It enrolls cadets at high school and college level and also awards certificates on completion of various phases.
      • The NCC cadets receive basic military training at various levels and also have academic curriculum basics related to Armed forces and their functioning.
      • Various training camps, adventure activities and military training camps are an important aspect of NCC training.
  • Significance:
    • NCC cadets have played an important role over the years in relief efforts during various emergency situations.
    • During the ongoing pandemic, over 60,000 NCC cadets have been deployed for voluntary relief work in coordination with district and state authorities across the country.

Source: IE