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Delhi HC Seeks CBSE Response On Transgender Man's Plea Seeking Change Of Name & Photograph In School Certificates

Radhika Roy
14 Jan 2021 12:13 PM GMT

The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought for a response from Union of India and CBSE on an Application filed by a transgender man who is seeking for a change of his name and photograph in his school certificates.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh presided over the Application which had been filed in a plea challenging the validity of Bye-Laws issued by the CBSE which fails to provide a mechanism for transgender persons to change their name and gender on their Class X and Class XII certificates.

It has been contended that the bye-law is "arbitrary, irrational, discriminatory and violative of the privacy, dignity and autonomy of the Petitioner guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution as it requires transgender people to undergo a cumbersome two-step process meant for cis-gender students, first of publication of name change in the Official Gazette and subsequently obtaining a direction from the Court to that effect, which must be done before the publication of the examination result".

The instant Application, filed by Advocates Amritananda Chakravorty, Mihir Samson and Shreya Munoth, has been filed to seek directions to implement the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, which came into effect on 10th January, 2020, along with the Transgender Persons Rules, 2020, which was published on 25th September, 2020, and change the Petitioner's name, gender and photograph in his Class X and Class XII certificates.

The Application submits that notice had been issued in the aforementioned petition on March 11, 2019, subsequent to which a Committee had been constituted wherein it was noted that the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, was pending in the Parliament.

Subsequently, the Bill was passed and Section 3 of the Act guarantees the protection of non-discrimination in all State activity and prohibits the denial, discontinuation or unfair treatment against transgender persons in all educational establishments and services therof. Further, Section 4 grants recognition to the self-perceived gender identity of transgender persons, and procedure for the same is laid down in Sections 5, 6 and 7.

The Rules, further, mandate that transgender persons shall be entitiled to record or change the gender, as well as photograph and name, if so necessitated in all official documents, including their educational certificates, in accordance with their self-identified gender recorded in their identity cards. Additionally, any authority that has issued the official document has to make the change within 15 days of such an application and that the revised document must bear the same serial or reference number as in the original official document.

The Application then goes on to submit that the Petitioner has already had his self-identified gender of male recorded in his official identity documentation, prior to the Act coming into force, and is therefore entitled to all the rights and entitlements under the Act, but would not be required to submit a fresh application for certificate of identity under the Transgender Persons Act.

"The Petitioner has been facing tremendous financial distress due to the incongruency of his documents and the consequent lack of employment opportunities"
due to the lack of implementation of the mandate of the Transgender Persons Act and its Rules.

Additionally, Class X and Class XII certificates are vital documents that are requested by many employers and examination bodies as proof of age, proof of date of birth and also to assess the candidate's merit and eligibility. Therefore, the Application submits, the Respondent's refusal to issue gender congruent documents has forced him to use his female "dead name", which is violative of his fundamental rights to privacy, dignity and autonomy and has resulted in a distressing situation with the Petitioner having different identities as per different documents.

In light of the above, the Application prays for the Petitioner's name, photograph and gender to be changed as per the law stipulated in the Transgender Persons Act and Rules.

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