It is fundamental right of individuals to choose their sex, gender: Rajasthan HC
Stating every person has the right to fully enjoy all human rights, a single bench of justice Anoop Kumar Dhand ordered the authorities to consider modifying the service record of a person who was assigned the female gender at birth
Noting that it is an integral aspect of one’s personality, and fundamental to their self-determination, dignity, and freedom, the Rajasthan high court acknowledged the fundamental right of individuals to choose their sex or gender identity.
Stating every person has the right to fully enjoy all human rights, a single bench of justice Anoop Kumar Dhand ordered the authorities to consider modifying the service record of a person who was assigned the female gender at birth.
The judgment emphasized the importance of the right to choose one’s gender identity as a basic and fundamental element of an individual’s life.
The court was hearing a petition filed by a person who had been assigned female at birth and later underwent gender reassignment surgery (GRS) after being diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID). Following the surgery, the petitioner transitioned to male and subsequently married a woman.
The petitioner argued that unless his name and gender were changed in his service records, it would be challenging for him and his family to avail themselves of the benefits entitled to him through his employment. The petitioner had legally changed their name and gender to reflect their male identity.
The high court referenced the provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2019, which was enacted to ensure equality and respect for transgender people.
It observed that the Act allows individuals who have undergone gender reassignment surgery before its enactment to apply to the district magistrate (DM) for a certificate indicating the change in gender. Denying this right to individuals who have already undergone the surgery would contradict the purpose of the Act and lead to discrimination within society, said the court.
In line with this, the high court directed the petitioner to file an application before the DM seeking a change in gender details.
Once the certificate indicating the change is obtained, the petitioner can then submit a fresh application to the authorities for amending the service records accordingly. The court further adjourned the matter until September 4, with a directive to the authorities to submit a compliance report.
Meanwhile, the state authorities contended that the petitioner had been appointed as a female candidate, and the “recorded name and gender were based on the identity provided at the time”. They claimed that a declaration from the civil court was necessary to change sex based on gender identity.
After considering the arguments put forth by both parties, the high court underscored that gender identity is a fundamental aspect of an individual’s life and should be respected. It further noted that the right to equality is guaranteed by the Constitution of India, which is inherited by all individuals upon birth.