A 24-year-old transgender, who lived as a male until the time she embraced her identity as a transgender in 2012-13, has moved the Delhi High Court seeking to change her name from ‘Rahul Sharma’ to ‘Riya Sharma’. She also sought changes in her gender in Class X and XII certificates, issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education in 2010 and 2012.
All education documents, including the graduation certificate, bear the name Rahul Sharma. The matter came up for hearing before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar Wednesday, who expressed concerns and sought to know from authorities if they are going to frame guidelines in this regard.
“You (CBSE and Delhi University) cannot wait for such a matter to come up before the court. Their rights have been recognised by the Supreme Court in its 2014 National Legal Services Authority of India (NALSA) judgement,” the bench said. “You say that you are framing guidelines,” the bench told the CBSE and DU, while asking for their stand by the next date of hearing, May 21.
The NALSA judgement had declared transgenders as a “third gender” and a backward class entitled to reservations. “The judgement clearly states that (gender identity) is self-identification by the person and no surgery is required for an individual to identify themselves as any other gender than the one they were born as,” said Sharma’s lawyer, Yashraj Singh Deora.
She has also prayed that the Department of Publication in Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs be directed to publish her changed name and sex and self-identified gender as transgender in the official Gazette without insisting on a Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) certificate.
The CBSE, in its affidavit, said that in the absence of a provision for “change of name of candidate” after declaration of results in its byelaws, the petitioner does not have a vested right to seek change of name in CBSE certificates.
“In the absence of provisions permitting change in name after declaration of results, a direction to that effect ought not to be issued by the court and CBSE should not be compelled to act contrary to its own byelaw,” the CBSE responded.
DU, in its reply, stated that no relief can be granted to her against the University of Delhi and her “case has no merit”. The appellant, born in 1994, is yet to undergo a sex reassignment surgery. In July 2016, her application to change names in documents such as voter ID and driving licence was rejected by the Department of Publications.