The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the government to explain what problem it has in changing the names of two transgenders from male to female in the official records.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva raised the query while hearing the pleas of two city-based transgenders seeking change of their names and gender from male to female in the government records.
“Have you not published any name change in your Gazette (public journal)? Change of gender is something different. What is the problem in a name change,” the court asked the counsel for Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Controller of Publications, which publishes the Gazette.
Government lawyers said they will seek instructions regarding the queries raised by the court.
Central government standing counsel Monika Arora said a bill has been introduced in the Parliament on August 2, which takes care of all the prayers raised by the two in their plea.
The court has fixed the matter for hearing on October 4.
The petitioners have alleged discrimination by the authorities and sought “disciplinary enquiry” against them.
In support of their claims, they referred to a Supreme Court order holding that a person’s self-defined sexual orientation and gender identity is integral to their personality and a person cannot be forced to undergo medical procedures, including SRS or hormonal therapy, as a requirement for legal recognition of their gender identity.
The two have claimed that they were MtF (male to female) trans-sexuals who, due to duality between their appearance, voice, mannerism, dressing style and their male IDs, faced discrimination in the society.
The petitioners have contended that the department officials had refused to consider their applications for change of name without a certificate stating that they had undergone Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS).
They have sought quashing of any guideline of the publications department which mandates an SRS before changing the gender, as well as directions to the Centre “to constitute a board or committee for certifying the petitioner as a MtF transgender”.
They have also contended that “the action of respondents in refusing to allow the name change infringes the petitioner’s fundamental right to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution”.