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Transgender Person Moves Delhi High Court Challenging Insistence On Sex Change Certificate For Re-Issuance Of Passport

Sparsh Upadhyay
29 May 2021 10:58 AM GMT
Transgender Person Moves Delhi High Court Challenging Insistence On Sex Change Certificate For Re-Issuance Of Passport
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A Plea has been moved before the Delhi High Court challenging Passport Rules, 1980 to the extent that it makes it mandatory for a Transgender to obtain a sex change certificate so that one could be re-issued a passport recognizing one as a "Female". The plea has been moved by one Lasya Kahli Singh through advocates Siddharth Seem and Oindrila Sen, and it goes on to...

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A Plea has been moved before the Delhi High Court challenging Passport Rules, 1980 to the extent that it makes it mandatory for a Transgender to obtain a sex change certificate so that one could be re-issued a passport recognizing one as a "Female".

The plea has been moved by one Lasya Kahli Singh through advocates Siddharth Seem and Oindrila Sen, and it goes on to contend that:

"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."

Brief facts of the matter in hand

The petitioner, Lasya Kahli Singh self-declared her gender (from male to a female) and name in an Affidavit dated 02nd December 2019, i.e., prior to the commencement of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act i.e. prior to 05.12.2019.

On her application, she was issued New Aadhar Card and PAN Card with the required name and gender change.

Similarly, the Petitioner applied for the change in name and gender in her passport, however, she was told that she was required to have a sex change certificate in hand by a surgeon in order to get her Passport re-issued as Female (as per Entry in Serial Number 39 in Table 3 of the Passport Rules, 1980.

Further, she sent letters to 6 authorities at the Regional Passport Offices requesting for a change of name and gender in the passport and the issuance of a new passport.

However, she did not receive a response from the Passport Office and as she required her passport to travel to Thailand for her further surgeries to complete the process of the gender reassignment surgeries, as well as to actualize her identity, she knocked on the doors of Delhi High Court.

Importantly, the plea avers:

"The retention of provisions relating to the production of proof of having undergone surgical procedures for sex- transition stems from a basic lack of understanding of concepts surrounding gender, sex, transgender persons etc."

In this backdrop, she has requested to court that:

  • Table 2, Section E Entry 7 Of The Passport Rules, 1980 mandating the production of document no: 39 in table 3 of the rules, 1980 pertaining to 'Certification from the hospital where he/she underwent sex-change operation successfully' for effecting a change of sex in the passport be declared arbitrary and unconstitutional as being violative of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
  • She be issued a new passport with the changes in name and gender of the petitioner in her passport without insisting on the production of certification from hospital which declares the Petitioner a "woman" and/ or the insistence of a Sex Reassignment Surgery Certificate and in accordance with the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020 and the judgment by the Supreme Court of India in NALSA v. Union of India & Ors. (2014) 5 SCC 438

The plea also avers:

"Asking the Petitioner for any documents regarding her gender reassignment surgery would be in violation of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020 and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019"

Hearing the matter on Friday (May 28), the Delhi High Court sought the response of the Central government and thus, a notice was issued to the Central government by the Bench of Chief Justice D. N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh.

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