Delhi High Court noted that Passport Rules, which requires a Transgender person to produce a gender re-assignment surgery certificate, is prima facie in teeth of the Supreme Court’s NALSA vs Union of India judgment and is also violative of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Two judge bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla was hearing a plea filed by one Lasya Kahil Singh.
“You can’t insist on somebody to undergo sex-change operation for that (passport) purpose. You can classify such persons as Transgender and then there can be a subclassification into Trans man, Trans female, whatever the orientation of the person is, whatever the person wants to declare himself or herself as…but where is the question of insistence on surgery? One person does not want to undergo surgery but identifies himself or herself as a male or female,” Justice Sanghi said.
“As per NALSA judgment, they have the right to decide their self-identified gender. That right was upheld. It means that a Transgender person will himself or herself decide the gender and you will abide by that. This insistence is violative of Article 21 right,” added Justice Chawla.
The petitioner has challenged the Passport Rules, 1980 to the extent that it makes it mandatory for a Transgender person to obtain a gender reassignment certificate so that one could be reissued a passport recognizing one as a ‘Male’ or ‘Female’.
The petitioner has raised the contention 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.
With posting the matter for April 22, the bench has directed the concerned Centre government authority to take the instruction in regard to this matter within a week.