Tamil Nadu to appoint India's first transgender police officer

Indian policewoman K Prithika Yashini, 25, leaves after a judgement cleared legal hurdles allowing her to become India"s first transgender Sub Inspector of Police at the Madras High Court on November 6, 2015. Image copyright AFP/Getty Images

The Indian state of Tamil Nadu is to hire the country's first transgender police officer after a court cleared hurdles that faced one applicant.

K Prithika Yashini, who was born male but underwent gender reassignment surgery, applied to become a police sub-inspector in the southern state.

But the state police board did not recognise a third gender, leading her to pursue a legal case against it.

A court in Chennai (Madras) has now ruled in her favour.

"I'm excited," Prithika was quoted as saying by India's NDTV network. "It's a new beginning for the entire transgender community."

A ruling by two judges in Chennai's high court said: "The social impact of such recruitment cannot be lost sight of, as it would give strength to the case of transgenders.

"Yashini must reach the finish line, and not be stopped and disqualified in the middle."

India's supreme court recognised transgender people as a third gender last April, five years after the electoral commission added the category to ballot forms.

The ruling meant the government had to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities, as well as key amenities.

There are an estimated two million transgender people in India.

While the Times of India reports that Tamil Nadu police already have three transgender constables on their books, reports in other Indian media said Prithika will become the first officer in the country.

Prithika was born Pradeep Kumar and left her parents' home before completing a computer studies course and undergoing surgery.

She had wanted to be a police officer since being a child, Indian media said.

The court also ruled that the result of a police physical test, which Prithika failed after being a second too slow in a 100-metre dash, was not valid.

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