India: PIL against insistence of sex-reassignment surgery proof for passport

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11/13/2019

An LGBT activist has approached the Madras high court to declare a proviso in passport rules mandating submission of sex re-assignment surgery certificate for effecting change of sex in passport, as illegal and unconstitutional. Admitting the PIL, filed by T D Sivakumar, a division bench of Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice N Seshasayee ordered notices to the union ministry of law and ministry of external affairs, returnable by December 10. The PIL said the rule violated the right conferred on LBGT community by the Supreme Court in the National Legal Service Authority Vs Union of India case. Referring the apex court judgment, the petitioner said the judgment dealt with various aspects relating to rights of transgender persons and upheld the rights of transgender persons to their self-identified gender and authoritatively held that any insistence for Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) for declaring one’s gender is immoral and illegal. “The Supreme Court has clearly held that a person’s right to choose and express a gender identity fell within the ambit of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. The right to legal recognition of the chosen gender identity forms the basis of a person’s personal autonomy, freedom and dignity and an important facet of rights under Article 21,” he added.

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