HC moved seeking to quash passport rules on sex reassignment surgery

The Madras High Court has been moved seeking to declare passport rules which require submission of Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) certificate for gender determination as “unconstitutional”.
Representative Image
Representative Image

Chennai

A division bench comprising Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice N Seshasayee before whom the plea came up on Wednesday ordered notice to Union Ministries of Law and Justice and External Affairs, returnable by December 12. The petitioner Sivakumar TD involved in establishing the interests and rights of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer) community, submitted that as per Passport Rules 1980 with reference to change of sex in their passport and list of documents to be provided, Rule 39 sought from an applicant certification from the hospital where the sex change surgery was performed. This he said was contrary to a Supreme Court judgement relating to the rights of transgenders in the plea wherein it had held that any insistence of SRS for declaring one’s gender was ‘immoral’ and ‘illegal’ and that a person’s right to choose and express a gender identity falls within the ambit of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, which deals with right to freedom of speech and expression. Also, highlighting the plight of transgender people who applied for passports as late as 2016, the plea contended that despite the Supreme Court order that insistence on SRS certificate was illegal, they were required to produce a medical certificate for it. Based on this, he sought the court to declare passport rules requiring production of SRS certificate as unconstitutional and violation of Article 21 (personal liberty) of the Constitution.

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