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Above: Transgenders at the Queer Cultural Fest in Thiruvananthapuram/Photo: UNI

The Kerala HC, accused of judicial overreach for ordering a medical exam on a transgender, rejects a mother’s petition for custody

~By Kunal Rao

The Kerala High Court has refused to interfere on a petition filed by the mother of a 25-year-old transgender saying that gender was a matter of personal choice. The mother had approached the court with the complaint that her son was behaving abnormally due to the influence of an active transgender gang in the area, bent upon exploiting his mental disorder. The mother feared the gang might force him to undergo surgery for organ transplant.

A division bench comprising Justices V Chitambaresh and KP Jyothindranath disposed of the petition filed by the mother hailing from Kochi who had sought order for his custody.

The court had earlier asked that the person be subjected to a medical examination and a report be placed before the court by June 7. After considering the report submitted by the mental hospital which said that the transgender suffered from no mental disorder, the court ruled that the person was free to choose the gender of choice. A detailed order is expected later.

The petitioner resides with her husband and son Aby James in Ernakulam district. Her son showed some psychological abnormalities during his graduation years and underwent treatment at Stella Maris Hospital, for less than a month in September 2017. He was diagnosed with mood disorder and psychotic features, but returned to normal life.

The petition submitted that from March 2018, her husband and she noted some behavioural changes in their son, including causing violence and throwing items, etc.

She stated that her son had befriended with some transgender persons, despite being warned by the parish preacher. When she tried to consult a psychiatrist, her son showed reluctance.

Subsequently, on April 5, 2018, he left home without any information, but returned within a week. Later, he left home again on May 9, 2018.

A report was lodged at the Kalamassery Police Station. On being called by the police, the petitioner’s son informed that he is a transgender and not interested in living with his parents.

The mother contended that this was due to the psychotic disorder and submitted that he should be protected from forced organ transplantation. She said even though specific averments were made against chances of illegal organ transplant under the influence and coercion of transgender friends Ananya and Rathi, the police only registered a case under Section 57 of KP Act (to locate a missing person).

On May 19 afternoon, the police informed her that they are going to produce her son before the Court of Judicial First Class Magistrate II Aluva.

She rushed to the court and saw her son wearing women’s apparel for the first time, and pleaded that he should be produced before a medical practitioner soon.

The magistrate let her son at liberty after recording a statement, and even refused to record that the petitioner appeared in person before the court.

She submitted before the High Court that her son is not a transgender “physically and psychologically”. His mental aberration of mood disorder was misused by the transgender gang and due to the psychological pressure, he changed his name to Arundhati.

On May 22, the petitioner claimed that her son made frequent phone calls to her and met her. He informed her about being in the clutches of the transgender group,who did not permit him to go back home.

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