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Delhi High Court Seeks Centre's Response On Plea Challenging Requirement Of Sex Change Certificate For Re-Issuance Of Passport To Transgender Persons

Akshita Saxena
27 July 2021 6:22 AM GMT
Delhi High Court Seeks Centres Response On Plea Challenging Requirement Of Sex Change Certificate For Re-Issuance Of Passport To Transgender Persons
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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to respond on a petition seeking issuance of a new passport to a Transgender woman with the required changes in name and gender without insisting on the production of sex-change certificate.A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh allowed the request made by Centre's counsel, Soumya Singh, to grant more time to...

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to respond on a petition seeking issuance of a new passport to a Transgender woman with the required changes in name and gender without insisting on the production of sex-change certificate.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh allowed the request made by Centre's counsel, Soumya Singh, to grant more time to respond to the petition.

The plea, filed by a Transgender woman, also challenges the Passport Rules, 1980 insofar as it requires production of a Sex Reassignment Surgery Certificate, for effecting change of sex in the passport.

It is stated that the Supreme Court in the case of NALSA v. Union of India devised a procedure for change in name and gender through "self-declaration". However, the above requirement for issuance of fresh passport by producing a sex-change certificate hinders transgender persons in getting their passports to reflect their self-identified gender.

The plea states,

"the insistence on sex reassignment surgery in order for an individual to identify or change their sex/gender is unnecessary and violative of the choice of the individual with respect to undergoing a surgical procedure to reflect the transition."

It adds,

"mandating the Petitioner to produce 'certification from hospital where he / she underwent sex change operation successfully' is also arbitrary, illegal, violative of Article 21 of the Constitution and contrary to the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in National Legal Services Authority vs Union of India and others (2014 20 5 SCC 438)."

During the course of hearing, Advocate Oindrila Sen appearing for the Petitioner insisted that the matter is urgent since the Petitioner, who has undergo some procedures/ surgeries at a clinic in Bangkok, is required to travel there as she is on a hormone therapy that needs to be completed quickly, given its adverse side effects.
"The Petitioner thus requires her passport at the earliest in order to travel abroad and complete the surgeries to actualize her identity," Sen argued.

He further highlighted that other Government IDs such as Aadhar Card, Voter ID and PAN Card with the new name and gender have already been issued to the Petitioner and thus, insistence of the Passport Authority on a sex-change certificate is unnecessary and violative of her rights.

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