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Bombay High Court allows transgender to contest gram panchayat poll from women’s category

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The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has allowed a transgender to contest gram panchayat elections from the women’s category. The court said transgenders have the right to choose their gender.

A single-judge bench of Justice Ravindra Ghuge gave this decision on January 2 on a petition filed by Anjali Guru. In this petition, the decision of the Returning Officer on December 31, 2020 was challenged. The returning officer had canceled the petitioner’s form for gram panchayat election in Jalgaon district.

The petitioner had chosen women in gender category in the nomination papers and filed a nomination to contest elections from the reserved ward for general category women. Her nomination letter was rejected because the petitioner was a transgender, and there is no provision of transgender category in the form of the current gram panchayat election.

AP Bhandari, advocate for the Petitioner, informed the court that his client has always opted for feminine (female category) for all purposes. The court said, in the present case, the petitioner has selected the woman for identification of her gender and has given a statement to remain alive in the same category. Inspired by opportunism, she will not enter the category of male gender and will continue to select the female gender in future, even if reservation for transgender is available in public life or not.

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The court canceled the decision of the Returning Officer to accept the nomination form and allowed the petitioner to contest from the ward and category, which she had selected in the nomination papers.

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