Eunuch`s election as mayor nullified over gender

The election of eunuchs to senior posts has been nullified by courts for the lack of clarity on their gender.

Bhopal: The election of eunuchs to senior posts has been nullified by courts for the lack of clarity on their gender.

Kamla Bua, a eunuch, had won the Sagar mayoral polls in 2009 by a handsome margin of over 43,000 votes from the seat reserved for SC category women.

Her nearest rival challenged the verdict in the district court in 2011 saying that Kamla Bua was a eunuch and therefore, he cannot contest polls from a seat reserved for women.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the court nullified the election of Kamla Bua on the ground that being a eunuch he had failed to prove that he is a woman and secondly, he also failed to prove that he belonged to the scheduled caste category.

The court also rejected the argument that the issue should have been settled at the time of scrutiny of the nomination papers.

"Though the court has nullified Kamla`s election, it failed to address the basic issue as to what category these persons belong to and from where they can contest elections --seats reserved for men or for women," Prof Ayub Khan from Government Maharani Laxmi Bai College of Excellence, Gwalior, who has deeply studied the subject, said.

Khan, whose book "Hijdas in Politics or Politics in Hijdas" (under publication) says the question is significant in view of the fact that people have given a decisive mandate to a eunuch to run the affairs of a municipal body and thus, it it should be honoured in a democracy more than anything else.

Though officials erred in not rejecting their (eunuch`s)
nomination papers during scrutiny and the people also know that they are voting for a eunuch, there is no point in nullifying the polls, Khan said.
When they have a voting right, they are also eligible to contest the polls from any seat of their choice, he said.

Khan said eunuchs got voting rights in 1994 and according to Census offices, the issue of categorising them as between men and women was left to their own discretion.

Prior to 1994 also they used to cast vote on the basis of voter slips in which though they were classified as men. They were asked to stand in the queue designated for women where they feel comfortable as per their psyche, the professor claimed.

Barkatullah University professor and head of sociology department, Dr Gyanendra Gautam is also of the opinion that since the Constitution has given them voting rights, the court should also settle the issue as to from which seat they are eligible to contest the polls, to clear the ambiguity.

Incidentally, Madhya Pradesh was the first state in the country from where a eunuch, Shabnam Mousi, had been elected an MLA during Congress rule from Katni in 1998. Later from the same city another eunuch, Kamla Jaan, was elected as a mayor.

However, Kamla Jaan`s election was also nullified by the district court on the ground that the seat was reserved for general category woman and treated him as a man.

Similarly, Kamla Bua won the mayoral polls from Sagar city and the election was also nullified by a local court following which the order was challenged in the High Court and its decision on the issue is awaited.

The Election Commission had notified for the civic polls in scheduled (SC/ST) areas of the state, including Sagar, earlier this year, but the HC stayed the poll process in view of the pendency of the petition filed by Kamla Bua against the nullification of her election.


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