The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has informed the Delhi High Court that a transsexual sailor, who was discharged from the naval service after undergoing sex re-assignment surgery (SRS), cannot be reinstated as he does not fulfil the eligibility criteria under which he was enrolled.
Sabi Giri (26), born as Manish Kumar Giri, had joined the Indian Navy as a sailor in 2010. The Navy discharged him from service in October last year after Giri opted for a sex re-assignment surgery and started identifying herself as a woman. Giri then moved the High Court against the Navy’s decision.
The ministry told a bench headed by Justice G S Sistani that petitioner Giri had applied for enrolment as a sailor by voluntarily disclosing his gender to be male.
The ministry said that Giri had gender identity issues and should have challenged the validity of Section 9 of the Navy Act, 1957, at the time of applying for the post of a sailor for including females/transgender for appointment as sailor.
“Instead, he by applying for the appointment as a male sailor had voluntarily declared his gender to be male at the time of enrolment. Believing on the declaration of gender by him and medical examination, he was enrolled as a sailor in Indian Navy.
“Hence, he has already availed the benefits of Section 9 for his enrolment as a sailor in the Navy… Accordingly, he is debarred by the principles of ‘estoppel’ from challenging the vires of Section 9 of the Act,” the MoD said in its affidavit filed last month.
Section 9 of the Navy Act allows the enrolment of male sailors and limited entry of women sailors in specific departments, but has no provision for enrolment of transgender sailors.
The Centre’s counsel Anil Soni also said that Giri cannot question the vires of Section 9 as he underwent the sex re-assignment surgery (SRS) without intimating higher authorities.
“Moreover, today she is a phenotypic female with fragile state of mind, who is on a number of heavy doses of various medicines, making her incapable of serving as a sailor in the Indian Navy,” the MoD said.
“He has been discharged from the naval service on the ground that his retention would be detrimental to the service as he has been a repeated offender and post SRS, he does not fulfill the eligibility criteria under which he was enrolled,” it said.
The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on August 2.