The Allahabad High Court on Friday issued directions to the State authorities to enable a trans woman to change her previous name and gender changed in her educational mark-sheets and certificates.
The Bench of Justice Vivek Chaudhary also ordered the issuance of fresh changed mark sheets and certificates to her, as per the certificate issued by the District Magistrate to the petitioner. This was considered indicating petitioner's change in gender under Section 7 of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 (the Act).
According to LiveLaw, 'The bench was dealing with a writ petition wherein court was prayed to direct Board of High School and Intermediate Education, Allahabad (U.P.) (U.P. Board) and Council for the Indian Schools Examination, New Delhi (CISE Board) to change petitioner's name and gender in her matriculation and intermediate marksheets respectively. A mandamus was also sought commanding both the authorities to amend their regulations and guidelines with regard to change of gender and names.'
Details of the case:
Petitioner with her earlier name as 'X' (name of the petitioner concealed) and gender as male, had appeared and passed High School and Intermediate in the year 2011 and 2013 respectively. Noting that she was suffering from gender dysphoria, she underwent gender reassignment surgery in October 2017 from male to female. She also got published a gazette notification in respect of change of her name from 'A' to 'S' and gender from 'male' to 'female'.
Petitioner also got her Aadhar and PAN cards issued in her new name and gender as female. But when she applied for getting her earlier name and gender changed in her school records, the request was rejected.
In June 2017, the petitioner had applied for the change in her High School documents but during filling forms for the said purpose, she noticed that columns for change of name and other details were there but the form was silent about the change in gender.
Consequently, she approached different authorities requesting them to change petitioner's name and gender. However failing to get allowance on name and gender change from Examination Committee of the U.P. Board, the petitioner took to the High Court.
Court stressed that the very purpose of bringing the Act into force was to provide equality and respect to transgender persons. Therefore, noting that the Act is a socially beneficial legislation, court held,
"This Act cannot be given an interpretation which would defeat the very purpose for which the same is brought in force. It has to be interpreted in a manner that solemn purpose for which it is legislated is achieved."
Accordingly, Court rejected State counsel's contentions. Court observed,
"The purpose is to give recognition to transgender persons as they perceived themselves and, in case, they undergo a gender reassignment procedure, to provide them appropriate changed certificates and identity documents."
Court also stated that Section 7 is required to be interpreted in a manner that the transgender persons who are issued a certificate under Section 6 or persons like petitioner who had undergone the gender re-assignment procedure prior the Act came into force, both are held entitled to apply before the District Magistrate for issuance of a certificate indicating 'change in gender'.
Further holding that denying such a right to persons who had already undergone the gender re-assignment procedure would frustrate the very purpose of the Act, court permitted the petitioner to submit an application under Section 7 of the Act before the District Magistrate.
Court also directed that on the basis of DM's such certificate, the petitioner would have the liberty to approach Boards' authorities for changing the identity on her educational records and the Board officials will have to take immediate steps after receiving her application.
Similar instances in the past:
In the past, the Delhi High Court in 2019 directed CBSE and Delhi University to work out a way to help a transgender who is seeking change of name and gender, from male to female, in education records. The court assured the petitioner that her right to gender identity was a constitutional right which has been recognised by the apex court and said “let us work out what can be done”.
While, the Bombay High Court years back observed that the Maharashtra government should take steps to include a column for transgenders in the online application form for change of name in the official gazette.
(with inputs from LiveLaw)