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Sex change surgery: HC refuses to entertain cop’s plea for leave

Salve’s lawyer, Ejaj Naqvi, submitted that the petition involved a constitutionally guaranteed right to life with dignity, besides the leave, which is why it was directly filed before the high court.

mumbai Updated: Nov 30, 2017 20:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,sex change surgery,Bombay high court
Salve’s lawyer, Ejaj Naqvi, submitted that the petition involved a constitutionally guaranteed right to life with dignity, besides the leave, which is why it was directly filed before the high court. (FILE)

The Bombay high court on Thursday refused to entertain a petition filed by a 28-year-old woman police constable from Rajegaon in Beed district, seeking a month’s leave to undergo sex reassignment surgery.

A bench of justice SC Dharmadhikari and justice Bharati Dangre dismissed the petition filed by Lalita Salve on the grounds that she did not go for an alternative remedy – approaching the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) -- before approaching the HC.

Salve’s lawyer, Ejaj Naqvi, submitted that the petition involved a constitutionally guaranteed right to life with dignity, besides the leave, which is why it was directly filed before the high court.

The judges clarified the MAT can also examine the aspect of petitioner’s fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and therefore the petitioner should have first approached the tribunal.

Salve had approached the HC after her plea for leave to undergo the surgery was rejected.

According to the petition, Salve has completed her BA in literature from Lokmanya Tilak College at Wadvani in Beed district and in May 2010 joined Maharashtra police constabulary as a woman police constable. The petition adds that for the past 2-3 years, she has been experiencing a conflict within herself and behaving like a male, and therefore she felt the urge to undergo sex change surgery.

The petition adds the physical abnormality associated with her gender was by birth and although she was born a “girl”, her orientation is that of a male. She stated that in June 2016 she underwent a psychological test at JJ Hospital in Mumbai and the doctors said she suffered from “gender dysphagia” and required to undergo “sex reassignment” surgery to lead a normal life.

The petition adds that after receiving medical report of JJ Hospital, she approached her seniors with a request to grant her leave for the purpose of undergoing the surgery, but the seniors have refused to cooperate with her and her plea for leave was rejected. She claimed the superintendent of police, Beed, had asked her not to undergo the sex reassignment surgery and thus violated her fundamental right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Apart from leave for getting the surgery done, she had also sought a direction to the superintendent of police, Beed to allow her to use her new identity – Lalit Salve – as a male in the police constabulary.

First Published: Nov 30, 2017 20:59 IST