The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the Centre’s response along with those of other authorities in a plea by a transgender woman seeking issuance of a fresh passport with the changed name and gender.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh granted further time to the respondents to file their replies in a plea filed by a transgender woman seeking issuance of a new passport with the required changes in name and gender of the petitioner, without insisting on the production of a certification from the hospital which declares the petitioner to be a “woman” and/ or the insistence of a Sex Reassignment Surgery Certificate.
The matter has been adjourned till September 6. The Bench, on the last date, issued notice upon the respondents; however, no response has been filed yet.
Filed through Advocates Siddharth Seem and Oindrila Sen, the petition is by a transgender woman, who has to undergo gender reassignment surgeries in Bangkok in furtherance of hormone replacement therapy.
The petitioner is aggrieved by the deliberate inaction of the Passport Seva Kendra, ITO Delhi, and the Regional Passport Office, R.K. Puram, Delhi, pertaining to the issuance of a new passport to the petitioner with the required changes in her name and gender, in accordance with Rule 3(3) of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020.
It is averred in the plea that since the PAN Card and the Aadhar Card of the petitioner have already been updated with the new name and gender, she is not required to submit an application for a certificate of identity as required under Rule 3(3) of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020.
Referring to the judgment passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in “National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India and Ors.”, (2014) 5 SCC 438, the plea states that Passport Rules, 1980, in as much as it mandates the production of ‘certification from hospital’ where the person underwent sex-change operation successfully is arbitrary, illegal, and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.
It has been further stated in the plea, “the insistence on sex reassignment surgery in order for an individual to identify or change their sex/gender is unnecessary and violative of the choice of the individual with respect to undergoing a surgical procedure to reflect the transition.”
In the light of these averments, the plea prays for declaration of the Passport Rules, 1980, insofar as it requires the production of the said documents, as unconstitutional and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution; and to issue a fresh passport with necessary changes.