NEARLY A month after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told DGP Satish Mathur to review the decision of the state police which had rejected constable Lalita Salve’s application for a sex-change operation and reinduction as a “male” constable, the state police have left it to the government to take a final call terming it a “policy issue”.
In September, Salve, 29, a constable with the Beed district police, wrote to her superiors seeking permission to undergo a sex-change operation. However, after reports of her application appeared in the media, the state police rejected the request and communicated its decision to the Beed superintendent of police. Subsequently, Fadnavis told Mathur to review the decision
Sources said the state police had brought certain facts to the notice of the Home department, which is headed by Fadnavis. In its report, the state police has affixed the medical reports of JJ hospital, which has said “Salve has male genitals but was reared as a female”. The report has also indicated “even if Salve is allowed the sex-reassignment surgery, the constable will fail criteria such as height, which is a mandatory field to clear for male aspirants while being selected into the force”. The state police has also requested the Home department to take a final call if the application should be allowed or if Salve’s should be treated as an “exceptional case”, the sources added.
“The report was submitted Tuesday and we will wait for the state government to take a final call on the matter,” said Rajkumar Vhatkar, Inspector General of Police, Establishment, Maharashtra Police. Vhatkar, however, declined to comment on the report. “I’m not in a position to comment,” he said.
Another senior official said with the issue being more of a policy matter, the state police decided not to take a decision and leave it to the government. “The selection criteria is laid down by the government. The police, including the state chief, doesn’t have the power to take decisions which are not in line with the set norms and, therefore, we have asked the government to take a decision.
We have placed all the facts that will help the Home department take a decision,” said an official in the DGP’s office, who did not want to be named. “This is the first case in the state or probably in the country where a serving woman constable has requested to allow her undergo a sex-change operation and then be inducted as a male constable. In the absence of a precedent, the state police cannot take a decision and, therefore, whatever the government decides will become a norm for any future cases,” the official added.
A senior official said after the chief minister requested the DGP to review the decision, the constable was told to undergo a medical test. “The JJ hospital report clearly states the female constable has male genitals but was raised as a female child. We also checked her medical report at the time of her induction in 2010, which states that the constable had identified herself as a ‘female’ and was selected under the horizontal reservation quota reserved for female constables,” the official said. “There are two types of reservations – horizontal and vertical.
While vertical reservations entail those based on caste, religion etc, horizontal reservations include 30.33 per cent reservation for women. The constable was selected under the horizontal reservation category. After the sex change, that reservation will cease and the constable would have to again go through the qualification criteria,” the official added.