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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Third Gender - Apex court Declared their rights under the Indian Constitution = National Legal Services Authority … Petitioner Versus Union of India and others … Respondents = 2014 (April.Part ) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41411

   Third Gender - Apex court Declared their rights under the Indian Constitution =
We, therefore, declare:
    (1) Hijras, Eunuchs, apart from binary gender,  be  treated  as  “third
        gender” for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III
        of our Constitution and the laws made by  the  Parliament  and  the
        State Legislature.
    (2) Transgender persons’ right to decide their  self-identified  gender
        is also upheld and the Centre and State Governments are directed to
        grant legal recognition of their  gender  identity  such  as  male,
        female or as third gender.
    (3) We direct the Centre and the State Governments  to  take  steps  to
        treat them  as  socially  and  educationally  backward  classes  of
        citizens and extend all kinds of reservation in cases of  admission
        in educational institutions and for public appointments.
    (4) Centre and State Governments are directed to operate  separate  HIV
        Sero-survellance Centres since Hijras/  Transgenders  face  several
        sexual health issues.
    (5) Centre and State Governments should seriously address the  problems
        being faced by Hijras/Transgenders  such  as  fear,  shame,  gender
        dysphoria, social pressure, depression, suicidal tendencies, social
        stigma, etc. and any insistence for SRS for declaring one’s  gender
        is immoral and illegal.
    (6) Centre and State Governments should take proper measures to provide
        medical care to TGs in the hospitals and also provide them separate
        public toilets and other facilities.
    (7) Centre and State Governments should also  take  steps  for  framing
        various social welfare schemes for their betterment.
    (8) Centre and State Governments should take  steps  to  create  public
        awareness so that TGs will feel that they are also part and  parcel
        of the social life and be not treated as untouchables.
    (9)  Centre and the State Governments  should  also  take  measures  to
        regain their respect and place  in  the  society  which  once  they
        enjoyed in our cultural and social life. =

a third gender, over and above male and female. TGs are neither treated as  male
or female, nor given the status of a third gender, they are  being  deprived
of many of the rights and privileges which other persons enjoy  as  citizens
of this country.  TGs are deprived of social and cultural participation  and
hence restricted access to education, health care and  public  places  which
deprives them of the Constitutional guarantee of  equality  before  law  and
equal protection of laws.   Further,  it  was  also  pointed  out  that  the
community also faces discrimination to  contest  election,  right  to  vote,
employment, to get licences etc. and, in effect, treated as an  outcast  and
untouchable. 

 Laxmi Narayan Tripathy, a Hijra,  through  a
petition supported by an affidavit,  highlighted  the  trauma  undergone  by
Tripathy from Tripathy’s birth.   Rather than explaining the same by us,  it
would be appropriate to quote in Tripathy’s own words:
      “That the Applicant has born as a male.  Growing up as  a  child,  she
      felt different from the boys of her age and was feminine in her  ways.
      On account of her femininity, from an early age,  she  faced  repeated
      sexual harassment, molestation  and  sexual  abuse,  both  within  and
      outside the family. Due to her being different, she was  isolated  and
      had no one to talk to or express her feelings while she was coming  to
      terms with her identity.  She was constantly abused by everyone  as  a
      ‘chakka’  and ‘hijra’.  Though she felt that there was  no  place  for
      her in society, she did not succumb to the prejudice.  She started  to
      dress and appear in public in women’s clothing in her late  teens  but
      she did not identify  as  a  woman.    Later,  she  joined  the  Hijra
      community in Mumbai as she identified with the other  hijras  and  for
      the first time in her life, she felt at home.


      That being a hijra, the Applicant  has  faced  serious  discrimination
      throughout her life because of her gender identity.  It has been clear
      to the Applicant that the complete non-recognition of the identity  of
      hijras/transgender persons by the State has resulted in the  violation
      of most of  the  fundamental  rights  guaranteed  to  them  under  the
      Constitution of India….” =


Seldom, our society realizes or cares to  realize  the  trauma,  agony
and  pain  which  the  members  of  Transgender   community   undergo,   nor
appreciates  the  innate  feelings  of  the  members  of   the   Transgender
community, especially of those whose mind and body disown  their  biological
sex.  Our society often ridicules and abuses the Transgender  community  and
in public places like railway stations,  bus  stands,  schools,  workplaces,
malls, theatres, hospitals, they are sidelined and treated as  untouchables,
forgetting  the  fact  that  the  moral  failure  lies  in   the   society’s
unwillingness  to  contain  or  embrace  different  gender  identities   and
expressions, a mindset which we have to change.

2.    We are, in this case, concerned with the grievances of the members  of
Transgender  Community  (for  short  ‘TG  community’)  who  seek   a   legal
declaration of their gender identity than the one assigned to them, male  or
female, at the time of birth and their prayer  is  that  non-recognition  of
their gender identity violates Articles 14 and 21  of  the  Constitution  of
India.   Hijras/Eunuchs, who also fall in that group, claim legal status  as
a third gender with all legal and constitutional protection.=

We, therefore, declare:
    (1) Hijras, Eunuchs, apart from binary gender,  be  treated  as  “third
        gender” for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III
        of our Constitution and the laws made by  the  Parliament  and  the
        State Legislature.
    (2) Transgender persons’ right to decide their  self-identified  gender
        is also upheld and the Centre and State Governments are directed to
        grant legal recognition of their  gender  identity  such  as  male,
        female or as third gender.
    (3) We direct the Centre and the State Governments  to  take  steps  to
        treat them  as  socially  and  educationally  backward  classes  of
        citizens and extend all kinds of reservation in cases of  admission
        in educational institutions and for public appointments.
    (4) Centre and State Governments are directed to operate  separate  HIV
        Sero-survellance Centres since Hijras/  Transgenders  face  several
        sexual health issues.
    (5) Centre and State Governments should seriously address the  problems
        being faced by Hijras/Transgenders  such  as  fear,  shame,  gender
        dysphoria, social pressure, depression, suicidal tendencies, social
        stigma, etc. and any insistence for SRS for declaring one’s  gender
        is immoral and illegal.
    (6) Centre and State Governments should take proper measures to provide
        medical care to TGs in the hospitals and also provide them separate
        public toilets and other facilities.
    (7) Centre and State Governments should also  take  steps  for  framing
        various social welfare schemes for their betterment.
    (8) Centre and State Governments should take  steps  to  create  public
        awareness so that TGs will feel that they are also part and  parcel
        of the social life and be not treated as untouchables.
    (9)  Centre and the State Governments  should  also  take  measures  to
        regain their respect and place  in  the  society  which  once  they
        enjoyed in our cultural and social life.


130.    We are informed an Expert Committee has already been constituted to
make an in-depth study of the problems faced by the  Transgender  community
and suggest measures that can be taken  by  the  Government  to  ameliorate
their problems and to submit its report with recommendations  within  three
months of its constitution.  Let the recommendations be examined  based  on
the legal declaration made in this  Judgment  and  implemented  within  six
months.

131.      Writ Petitions are, accordingly, allowed, as above.
2014 (April.Part ) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41411
K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN, A.K. SIKRI
                                                                REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.400 OF 2012
National Legal Services Authority                  … Petitioner
                                   Versus
Union of India and others                         … Respondents
                                    WITH
                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.604 OF 2013


                               J U D G M E N T


K.S. Radhakrishnan, J.


1.    Seldom, our society realizes or cares to  realize  the  trauma,  agony
and  pain  which  the  members  of  Transgender   community   undergo,   nor
appreciates  the  innate  feelings  of  the  members  of   the   Transgender
community, especially of those whose mind and body disown  their  biological
sex.  Our society often ridicules and abuses the Transgender  community  and
in public places like railway stations,  bus  stands,  schools,  workplaces,
malls, theatres, hospitals, they are sidelined and treated as  untouchables,
forgetting  the  fact  that  the  moral  failure  lies  in   the   society’s
unwillingness  to  contain  or  embrace  different  gender  identities   and
expressions, a mindset which we have to change.

2.    We are, in this case, concerned with the grievances of the members  of
Transgender  Community  (for  short  ‘TG  community’)  who  seek   a   legal
declaration of their gender identity than the one assigned to them, male  or
female, at the time of birth and their prayer  is  that  non-recognition  of
their gender identity violates Articles 14 and 21  of  the  Constitution  of
India.   Hijras/Eunuchs, who also fall in that group, claim legal status  as
a third gender with all legal and constitutional protection.

3.    The National Legal Services Authority,  constituted  under  the  Legal
Services Authority Act, 1997, to provide free legal services to  the  weaker
and other  marginalized  sections  of  the  society,  has  come  forward  to
advocate their cause, by filing Writ Petition  No.  400  of  2012.   Poojaya
Mata Nasib Kaur Ji Women Welfare  Society,  a  registered  association,  has
also preferred Writ Petition No. 604 of 2013,  seeking  similar  reliefs  in
respect of Kinnar community, a TG community.

4.    Laxmi Narayan Tripathy, claimed to be a Hijra, has also got  impleaded
so as to effectively put across the cause of the members of the  transgender
community and Tripathy’s life experiences  also  for  recognition  of  their
identity as a third gender, over and above male and female.   Tripathy  says
that non-recognition of the identity of Hijras, a TG community, as  a  third
gender,  denies them  the  right  of  equality  before  the  law  and  equal
protection of law guaranteed  under  Article  14  of  the  Constitution  and
violates the rights guaranteed to them under Article 21 of the  Constitution
of India.

5.    Shri Raju Ramachandran,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  the
petitioner  –  the  National  Legal  Services  Authority,  highlighted   the
traumatic  experiences  faced  by  the  members  of  the  TG  community  and
submitted that every person of that community has a legal  right  to  decide
their sex orientation and to espouse and determine their identity.   Learned
senior counsel has submitted that since the TGs are neither treated as  male
or female, nor given the status of a third gender, they are  being  deprived
of many of the rights and privileges which other persons enjoy  as  citizens
of this country.  TGs are deprived of social and cultural participation  and
hence restricted access to education, health care and  public  places  which
deprives them of the Constitutional guarantee of  equality  before  law  and
equal protection of laws.   Further,  it  was  also  pointed  out  that  the
community also faces discrimination to  contest  election,  right  to  vote,
employment, to get licences etc. and, in effect, treated as an  outcast  and
untouchable.   Learned senior counsel also submitted that the  State  cannot
discriminate them on the ground of gender, violating Articles 14 to  16  and
21 of the Constitution of India.

6.     Shri  Anand  Grover,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing   for   the
Intervener, traced the historical background of the  third  gender  identity
in India and the position accorded to them in  the  Hindu  Mythology,  Vedic
and Puranic literatures, and the prominent role played by them in the  royal
courts of the Islamic world etc.  Reference was also made  to  the  repealed
Criminal Tribes Act, 1871 and explained the inhuman  manner  by  which  they
were treated at the time of  the  British  Colonial  rule.   Learned  senior
counsel also submitted that various International  Forums  and  U.N.  Bodies
have recognized  their  gender  identity  and  referred  to  the  Yogyakarta
Principles and pointed out that those principles  have  been  recognized  by
various countries around  the  world.    Reference  was  also  made  to  few
legislations  giving  recognition  to  the  trans-sexual  persons  in  other
countries.   Learned senior counsel also submitted that  non-recognition  of
gender identity  of  the  transgender  community  violates  the  fundamental
rights guaranteed to them, who are citizens of this country.

7.    Shri T. Srinivasa Murthy, learned counsel appearing in I.A. No.  2  of
2013, submitted that transgender persons have to be declared as  a  socially
and educationally backward classes of citizens  and  must  be  accorded  all
benefits available to that class of persons, which  are  being  extended  to
male and female genders.  Learned counsel also submitted that the  right  to
choose one’s gender identity is integral to the right to lead  a  life  with
dignity, which is undoubtedly guaranteed by Article 21 of  the  Constitution
of India.  Learned counsel,  therefore,  submitted  that,  subject  to  such
rules/regulations/protocols, transgender persons may be afforded  the  right
of choice to determine whether  to  opt  for  male,  female  or  transgender
classification.

8.    Shri Sanjeev Bhatnagar, learned counsel appearing for  the  petitioner
in Writ Petition No.604  of  2013,  highlighted  the  cause  of  the  Kinnar
community  and  submitted  that  they  are  the  most  deprived   group   of
transgenders and calls for constitutional as well as  legal  protection  for
their identity and for other socio-economic benefits,  which  are  otherwise
extended to the members of the male and female genders in the community.

9.     Shri  Rakesh  K.  Khanna,  learned  Additional   Solicitor   General,
appearing for the Union of India, submitted that  the  problems  highlighted
by the transgender community is a sensitive human  issue,  which  calls  for
serious attention.  Learned ASG pointed out that, under  the  aegis  of  the
Ministry  of  Social  Justice  and  Empowerment  (for  short   “MOSJE”),   a
Committee, called “Expert Committee  on  Issues  relating  to  Transgender”,
has been constituted to conduct an in-depth study of the  problems  relating
to transgender persons to make appropriate recommendations to  MOSJE.   Shri
Khanna also submitted that due representation would also  be  given  to  the
applicants, appeared before this Court  in  the  Committee,  so  that  their
views also could be heard.

10.   We also heard learned counsel appearing for various States  and  Union
Territories who have explained the steps they  have  taken  to  improve  the
conditions and status of the members of TG  community  in  their  respective
States and Union Territories.   Laxmi Narayan Tripathy, a Hijra,  through  a
petition supported by an affidavit,  highlighted  the  trauma  undergone  by
Tripathy from Tripathy’s birth.   Rather than explaining the same by us,  it
would be appropriate to quote in Tripathy’s own words:
      “That the Applicant has born as a male.  Growing up as  a  child,  she
      felt different from the boys of her age and was feminine in her  ways.
      On account of her femininity, from an early age,  she  faced  repeated
      sexual harassment, molestation  and  sexual  abuse,  both  within  and
      outside the family. Due to her being different, she was  isolated  and
      had no one to talk to or express her feelings while she was coming  to
      terms with her identity.  She was constantly abused by everyone  as  a
      ‘chakka’  and ‘hijra’.  Though she felt that there was  no  place  for
      her in society, she did not succumb to the prejudice.  She started  to
      dress and appear in public in women’s clothing in her late  teens  but
      she did not identify  as  a  woman.    Later,  she  joined  the  Hijra
      community in Mumbai as she identified with the other  hijras  and  for
      the first time in her life, she felt at home.


      That being a hijra, the Applicant  has  faced  serious  discrimination
      throughout her life because of her gender identity.  It has been clear
      to the Applicant that the complete non-recognition of the identity  of
      hijras/transgender persons by the State has resulted in the  violation
      of most of  the  fundamental  rights  guaranteed  to  them  under  the
      Constitution of India….”

      Siddarth Narrain, eunuch, highlights Narrain’s feeling, as follows:
      ”Ever since I can remember, I  have  always  identified  myself  as  a
      woman.  I lived in Namakkal, a small town in Tamil Nadu.  When  I  was
      in the 10th standard I realized  that  the  only  way  for  me  to  be
      comfortable was to join the hijra community.   It  was  then  that  my
      family found out that I frequently met hijras who lived in  the  city.
      One day, when my father was away, my brother, encouraged by my mother,
      started beating me with a cricket bat.  I locked myself in a  room  to
      escape from the beatings.   My mother and brother then tried to  break
      into the room to beat me up further.   Some of my relatives intervened
      and brought me out of the room.  I related my ordeal to  an  uncle  of
      mine who gave me Rs.50 and asked me to go home.  Instead, I  took  the
      money and went to live with a group of hijras in Erode.”

      Sachin, a TG, expressed his experiences as follows:
      “My name is Sachin and I am 23  years  old.    As  a  child  I  always
      enjoyed putting make-up like ‘vibhuti’ or ‘kum  kum’  and  my  parents
      always saw me as a girl.   I am male but I only have female  feelings.
      I used to help my mother in all the housework  like  cooking,  washing
      and cleaning.  Over the years, I started assuming more of the domestic
      responsibilities at home.  The neighbours starting teasing  me.   They
      would call out to me and ask: ‘Why don’t you go out and  work  like  a
      man?’  or ‘Why are you staying at home like a  girl?’    But  I  liked
      being a girl.  I felt shy about  going  out  and  working.   Relatives
      would also mock and scold me on this score.  Every day I would go  out
      of the house to bring water.  And as I walked back with  the  water  I
      would always be teased.  I felt very ashamed. I  even  felt  suicidal.
      How could I live like that?    But my parents never  protested.   They
      were helpless.”


      We have been told and informed of similar life experiences  faced  by
various others who belong to the TG community.

11.         Transgender is generally described  as  an  umbrella  term  for
persons whose gender identity,  gender  expression  or  behavior  does  not
conform to their biological sex. TG may also takes in persons  who  do  not
identify with their sex assigned at  birth,  which  include  Hijras/Eunuchs
who, in this writ petition, describe themselves as “third gender” and  they
do not identify as either male or female.  Hijras are not men by virtue  of
anatomy appearance and psychologically, they are  also  not  women,  though
they are like women with no female reproduction organ and no  menstruation.
 Since Hijras do not have reproduction capacities as either men  or  women,
they are neither men nor women and claim  to  be  an  institutional  “third
gender”.  Among Hijras, there are emasculated (castrated, nirvana) men, non-
emasculated  men  (not   castrated/akva/akka)   and   inter-sexed   persons
(hermaphrodites).  TG also includes persons who intend to undergo  Sex  Re-
Assignment Surgery (SRS) or have undergone SRS to  align  their  biological
sex with their gender identity in order to become male or female.  They are
generally called transsexual persons. Further, there are persons  who  like
to  cross-dress  in  clothing  of  opposite  gender,   i.e   transvestites.
Resultantly, the term “transgender”, in contemporary usage, has  become  an
umbrella term that is used to describe  a  wide  range  of  identities  and
experiences, including but not limited to pre-operative, post-operative and
non-operative transsexual people, who strongly  identify  with  the  gender
opposite to their biological sex; male and female.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF TRANSGENDERS IN INDIA:


12.    TG  Community  comprises  of  Hijras,  eunuchs,  Kothis,   Aravanis,
Jogappas, Shiv-Shakthis etc. and they,  as  a  group,  have  got  a  strong
historical presence in  our  country  in  the  Hindu  mythology  and  other
religious texts.   The Concept of tritiya prakrti  or  napunsaka  has  also
been  an  integral  part  of  vedic  and  puranic  literatures.   The  word
‘napunsaka’  has been used to denote  absence  of  procreative  capability.


13.   Lord Rama, in the epic Ramayana, was  leaving  for  the  forest  upon
being banished from the kingdom for 14 years, turns around to his followers
and asks all the ‘men  and  women’  to  return  to  the  city.   Among  his
followers, the hijras alone do not feel bound by this direction and  decide
to stay with him.  Impressed with their devotion, Rama sanctions  them  the
power to confer blessings on people on auspicious occasions like childbirth
and marriage, and also at inaugural functions which, it is believed set the
stage for the custom of badhai in  which  hijras  sing,  dance  and  confer
blessings.

14.   Aravan, the son of Arjuna and Nagakanya in Mahabharata, offers to  be
sacrificed to Goddess Kali to ensure the victory of  the  Pandavas  in  the
Kurukshetra war,   the only condition that he made was to  spend  the  last
night of his life in matrimony.    Since no woman was willing to marry  one
who was doomed to be killed, Krishna assumes the form of a beautiful  woman
called Mohini and marries him.   The Hijras of Tamil Nadu  consider  Aravan
their progenitor and call themselves Aravanis.


15.   Jain Texts also make a detailed reference to TG  which  mentions  the
concept of ‘psychological sex’.  Hijras also played a prominent role in the
royal courts of the Islamic world, especially in the  Ottaman  empires  and
the Mughal rule in  the  Medieval  India.    A  detailed  analysis  of  the
historical background of the same finds a place  in  the  book  of  Gayatri
Reddy, “With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South  India”  –
Yoda Press (2006).


16.   We notice that even though historically,  Hijras/transgender  persons
had played a prominent role, with the onset of colonial rule from the  18th
century onwards,  the  situation  had  changed  drastically.    During  the
British rule, a legislation was enacted to supervise the deeds of Hijras/TG
community, called the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871, which  deemed  the  entire
community of Hijras persons as innately ‘criminal’  and  ‘addicted  to  the
systematic commission of non-bailable offences’.    The  Act  provided  for
the registration, surveillance and control of certain criminal  tribes  and
eunuchs and had penalized eunuchs, who were registered, and appeared to  be
dressed or ornamented like a woman, in a public street or place, as well as
those who danced or played music in a  public  place.   Such  persons  also
could be arrested without warrant and sentenced to imprisonment up  to  two
years or fine or both.    Under  the  Act,  the  local  government  had  to
register the names and residence of all eunuchs residing in  that  area  as
well as of their properties, who were reasonably suspected of kidnapping or
castrating children, or of committing offences under  Section  377  of  the
IPC, or of abetting the commission of any of the said offences.   Under the
Act, the act of keeping a boy under 16 years in the charge of a  registered
eunuch was made an offence punishable with imprisonment up to two years  or
fine and the Act also denuded the registered eunuchs of their civil  rights
by prohibiting them from acting as guardians to minors, from making a  gift
deed or a will, or from adopting a son.  Act has, however, been repealed in
August 1949.

17.   Section 377 of the IPC found a place in the Indian Penal Code,  1860,
prior to the enactment of Criminal Tribles Act that criminalized all penile-
non-vaginal sexual acts between persons, including anal sex and  oral  sex,
at a time when transgender persons were also typically associated with  the
prescribed sexual practices.  Reference may be made to the judgment of  the
Allahabad High Court in Queen Empress v. Khairati (1884)  ILR  6  All  204,
wherein a transgender person was arrested and prosecuted under Section  377
on the suspicion that he was a ‘habitual sodomite’ and was later  acquitted
on appeal.  In that case, while acquitting him, the Sessions  Judge  stated
as follows:
      “This case relates to a person named Khairati, over  whom  the  police
      seem to have exercised some  sort  of  supervision,  whether  strictly
      regular or not, as a eunuch.  The man is not a eunuch in  the  literal
      sense, but he was called for by the police when  on  a  visit  to  his
      village, and was found singing dressed as a woman among the women of a
      certain family.  Having been subjected to  examination  by  the  Civil
      Surgeon (and a subordinate medical man),  he  is  shown  to  have  the
      characteristic mark of a habitual catamite –  the  distortion  of  the
      orifice of the anus into the  shape  of  a  trumpet  and  also  to  be
      affected with syphilis in the same region in a manner which distinctly
      points to unnatural intercourse within the last few months.”




18.   Even though, he was acquitted on appeal, this case would  demonstrate
that Section 377, though associated with specific sexual acts,  highlighted
certain identities, including Hijras and  was  used  as  an  instrument  of
harassment and physical abuse against Hijras and transgender persons.     A
Division Bench of this Court in Suresh Kumar Koushal  and  another  v.  Naz
Foundation  and  others  [(2014)  1  SCC  1]  has  already  spoken  on  the
constitutionality of Section 377 IPC and, hence, we express no  opinion  on
it since we are in these cases concerned with an altogether different issue
pertaining to the constitutional and other legal rights of the  transgender
community and their gender identity and sexual orientation.

GENDER IDENTITY AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION

19.   Gender identity is one of the most-fundamental aspects of life  which
refers to a person’s intrinsic sense of being male, female  or  transgender
or transsexual person.  A person’s sex is usually assigned at birth, but  a
relatively small group of persons may born with  bodies  which  incorporate
both or certain aspects of both male  and  female  physiology.   At  times,
genital anatomy  problems  may  arise  in  certain  persons,  their  innate
perception of themselves, is not in conformity with  the  sex  assigned  to
them at birth and may include pre and  post-operative  transsexual  persons
and also persons who do not choose to undergo or  do  not  have  access  to
operation and also include persons who cannot undergo successful operation.
 Countries, all over the world, including  India,  are  grappled  with  the
question of attribution of gender to persons who believe that  they  belong
to the opposite sex.  Few persons undertake surgical and  other  procedures
to  alter  their  bodies  and  physical  appearance   to   acquire   gender
characteristics of the sex which conform to  their  perception  of  gender,
leading to legal and social complications since official  record  of  their
gender at birth is  found  to  be  at  variance  with  the  assumed  gender
identity. Gender identity refers to each person’s deeply felt internal  and
individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond  with  the
sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body  which  may
involve a freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or functions  by
medical, surgical or other means and other expressions of gender, including
dress, speech and mannerisms. Gender  identity,  therefore,  refers  to  an
individual’s self-identification as a  man,  woman,  transgender  or  other
identified category.

20.   Sexual  orientation  refers  to  an  individual’s  enduring  physical,
romantic and/or emotional attraction to another person.  Sexual  orientation
includes  transgender  and   gender-variant   people   with   heavy   sexual
orientation and their sexual orientation may or may  not  change  during  or
after gender transmission,  which  also  includes  homo-sexuals,  bysexuals,
heterosexuals, asexual etc.  Gender  identity  and  sexual  orientation,  as
already indicated,  are  different  concepts.   Each  person’s  self-defined
sexual orientation and gender identity is integral to their personality  and
is one of the most basic aspects of self-determination, dignity and  freedom
and no one shall be forced to undergo  medical  procedures,  including  SRS,
sterilization or hormonal therapy, as a requirement  for  legal  recognition
of their gender identity.

UNITED NATIONS AND OTHER HUMAN  RIGHTS  BODIES  –  ON  GENDER  IDENTITY  AND
SEXUAL ORIENTATION


21.   United Nations has been instrumental in advocating the protection  and
promotion of rights of sexual  minorities,  including  transgender  persons.
Article 6 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and Article  16
of the International Covenant on Civil and Political  Rights,  1966  (ICCPR)
recognize that every human being has the inherent right  to  live  and  this
right shall be protected by law and that no one shall be arbitrarily  denied
of that right.  Everyone shall have a right to recognition, everywhere as  a
person before the law.   Article 17 of the ICCPR states that  no  one  shall
be subjected  to  arbitrary  or  unlawful  interference  with  his  privacy,
family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on  his  honour  and
reputation and that everyone has the right  to  protection  of  law  against
such interference or attacks. International Commission of  Jurists  and  the
International Service for Human Rights on behalf of  a  coalition  of  human
rights organizations, took a project  to  develop  a  set  of  international
legal principles on the application of international  law  to  human  rights
violations based on sexual orientation and sexual identity to bring  greater
clarity  and  coherence   to   State’s   human   rights   obligations.     A
distinguished  group  of  human  rights  experts  has  drafted,   developed,
discussed and reformed the principles in  a  meeting  held  at  Gadjah  Mada
University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from 6 to 9  November,  2006,  which  is
unanimously  adopted  the  Yogyakarta  Principles  on  the  application   of
International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and  Gender
Identity.   Yogyakarta Principles address a  broad  range  of  human  rights
standards and their application  to  issues  of  sexual  orientation  gender
identity.   Reference to few Yogyakarta Principles would be useful.

YOGYAKARTA PRINCIPLES:
22.   Principle 1 which deals with the right to the universal  enjoyment  of
human rights, reads as follows :-
      “1.   THE RIGHT TO THE UNIVERSAL ENJOYMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS


      All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.  Human
      beings of all sexual orientations and gender identities  are  entitled
      to the full enjoyment of all human rights.


      States shall:


      A.  Embody  the  principles  of  the  universality,  interrelatedness,
           interdependence and indivisibility of all human rights in  their
           national constitutions  or  other  appropriate  legislation  and
           ensure the practical realisation of the universal  enjoyment  of
           all human rights;


      B.    Amend any legislation, including criminal  law,  to  ensure  its
           consistency with the universal enjoyment of all human rights;


      C.    Undertake programmes of education and awareness to  promote  and
           enhance the full enjoyment of all human rights by  all  persons,
           irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity;


      D.    Integrate within State policy and decision-making a  pluralistic
           approach that recognises and affirms  the  interrelatedness  and
           indivisibility of all aspects of human identity including sexual
           orientation and gender identity.


      2.    THE RIGHTS TO EQUALITY AND NON-DISCRIMINATION


      Everyone is entitled to enjoy all human rights without  discrimination
      on the basis of sexual orientation or  gender  identity.  Everyone  is
      entitled to equality before the law and the equal  protection  of  the
      law without any such discrimination whether or not  the  enjoyment  of
      another human right is also affected. The law shall prohibit any  such
      discrimination and  guarantee  to  all  persons  equal  and  effective
      protection against any such discrimination.


      Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or  gender  identity
      includes any distinction, exclusion, restriction or  preference  based
      on sexual orientation or gender identity  which  has  the  purpose  or
      effect of nullifying or impairing equality before the law or the equal
      protection of the law, or the recognition, enjoyment or  exercise,  on
      an  equal  basis,  of  all  human  rights  and  fundamental  freedoms.
      Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity may  be,
      and  commonly  is,  compounded  by  discrimination  on  other  grounds
      including gender, race, age, religion, disability, health and economic
      status.


      States shall:


     A. Embody the principles of equality  and  non-discrimination  on  the
        basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in  their  national
        constitutions  or  other  appropriate  legislation,  if   not   yet
        incorporated  therein,  including  by  means   of   amendment   and
        interpretation, and  ensure  the  effective  realisation  of  these
        principles;


     B. Repeal criminal and other legal provisions that prohibit or are, in
        effect, employed  to  prohibit  consensual  sexual  activity  among
        people of the same sex who are over the age of consent, and  ensure
        that an equal age of consent applies to both same-sex and different-
         sex sexual activity;


     C. Adopt appropriate legislative and other measures  to  prohibit  and
        eliminate discrimination in the public and private spheres  on  the
        basis of sexual orientation and gender identity;


     D. Take appropriate measures to secure adequate advancement of persons
        of diverse sexual orientations and  gender  identities  as  may  be
        necessary to ensure such groups or individuals equal  enjoyment  or
        exercise of human rights.  Such measures shall not be deemed to  be
        discriminatory;


     E.  In all their responses to discrimination on the  basis  of  sexual
        orientation or gender identity, take account of the manner in which
        such   discrimination   may   intersect   with   other   forms   of
        discrimination;


     F.  Take all appropriate action, including programmes of education and
        training, with a view to achieving the elimination  of  prejudicial
        or discriminatory attitudes or behaviours which are related to  the
        idea  of  the  inferiority  or  the  superiority  of   any   sexual
        orientation or gender identity or gender expression.


      3.    THE RIGHT TO RECOGNITION BEFORE THE LAW


      Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as  a  person  before
      the law. Persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender  identities
      shall enjoy legal capacity in all aspects of life. Each person’s self-
      defined sexual orientation and gender identity is  integral  to  their
      personality  and  is  one  of  the  most  basic   aspects   of   self-
      determination, dignity and freedom. No one shall be forced to  undergo
      medical procedures, including sex reassignment surgery,  sterilisation
      or hormonal therapy, as a requirement for legal recognition  of  their
      gender identity. No status, such as marriage  or  parenthood,  may  be
      invoked as such to prevent the legal recognition of a person’s  gender
      identity. No one shall be subjected to pressure to  conceal,  suppress
      or deny their sexual orientation or gender identity.


      States shall:


     A. Ensure that all  persons  are  accorded  legal  capacity  in  civil
        matters, without discrimination on the basis of sexual  orientation
        or gender identity, and the opportunity to exercise that  capacity,
        including equal rights to conclude contracts,  and  to  administer,
        own, acquire (including through  inheritance),  manage,  enjoy  and
        dispose of property;


     B. Take all necessary legislative, administrative and  other  measures
        to fully respect and legally recognise each  person’s  self-defined
        gender identity;


     C. Take all necessary legislative, administrative and  other  measures
        to ensure that procedures exist whereby all  State-issued  identity
        papers which indicate  a  person’s  gender/sex  —  including  birth
        certificates, passports, electoral records and  other  documents  —
        reflect the person’s profound self-defined gender identity;


     D.  Ensure  that  such  procedures  are  efficient,  fair   and   non-
        discriminatory, and respect the dignity and privacy of  the  person
        concerned;


     E. Ensure that changes to identity documents will be recognised in all
        contexts where the identification or disaggregation of  persons  by
        gender is required by law or policy;


     F. Undertake targeted programmes to provide  social  support  for  all
        persons experiencing gender transitioning or reassignment.


      4.    THE RIGHT TO LIFE


      Everyone has the right to life. No one shall be  arbitrarily  deprived
      of  life,  including  by  reference  to   considerations   of   sexual
      orientation or gender identity. The death penalty shall not be imposed
      on any person on the basis of consensual sexual activity among persons
      who are over the age of consent or on the basis of sexual  orientation
      or gender identity.


      States shall:


     A. Repeal all forms of crime  that  have  the  purpose  or  effect  of
        prohibiting consensual sexual activity among persons  of  the  same
        sex who are over the age of consent and, until such provisions  are
        repealed, never impose the death penalty on  any  person  convicted
        under them;


     B. Remit sentences of death and release all those  currently  awaiting
        execution for crimes relating to consensual sexual  activity  among
        persons who are over the age of consent;


     C.  Cease any State-sponsored or State-condoned attacks on  the  lives
        of persons based on sexual  orientation  or  gender  identity,  and
        ensure that all such attacks, whether by government officials or by
        any individual or group, are  vigorously  investigated,  and  that,
        where  appropriate  evidence  is  found,  those   responsible   are
        prosecuted, tried and duly punished.


      6.    THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY


      Everyone, regardless of sexual  orientation  or  gender  identity,  is
      entitled to the enjoyment of privacy  without  arbitrary  or  unlawful
      interference,  including  with  regard  to  their  family,   home   or
      correspondence as well as to protection from unlawful attacks on their
      honour and reputation. The right to privacy  ordinarily  includes  the
      choice to disclose or not to disclose information  relating  to  one’s
      sexual orientation or  gender  identity,  as  well  as  decisions  and
      choices regarding both one’s own body and consensual sexual and  other
      relations with others.


      States shall:


     A. Take all necessary legislative, administrative and  other  measures
        to  ensure  the  right  of  each  person,  regardless   of   sexual
        orientation or  gender  identity,  to  enjoy  the  private  sphere,
        intimate  decisions,  and  human  relations,  including  consensual
        sexual activity among persons who are  over  the  age  of  consent,
        without arbitrary interference;


     B. Repeal all laws that criminalise consensual sexual  activity  among
        persons of the same sex who are over the age of consent, and ensure
        that an equal age of consent applies to both same-sex and different-
        sex sexual activity;


     C.  Ensure  that  criminal  and  other  legal  provisions  of  general
        application are not applied  to  de  facto  criminalise  consensual
        sexual activity among persons of the same sex who are over the  age
        of consent;


     D. Repeal any law that prohibits or  criminalises  the  expression  of
        gender identity, including through dress, speech or mannerisms,  or
        that denies to individuals the opportunity to change  their  bodies
        as a means of expressing their gender identity;


     E. Release all those held on remand or on  the  basis  of  a  criminal
        conviction, if their detention  is  related  to  consensual  sexual
        activity among persons who are over  the  age  of  consent,  or  is
        related to gender identity;


     F. Ensure the right of all persons ordinarily to choose when, to  whom
        and  how  to  disclose  information  pertaining  to  their   sexual
        orientation or  gender  identity,  and  protect  all  persons  from
        arbitrary or unwanted disclosure, or threat of disclosure  of  such
        information by others


      9.    THE RIGHT TO TREATMENT WITH HUMANITY WHILE IN DETENTION


      Everyone deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity  and  with
      respect  for  the  inherent  dignity  of  the  human  person.   Sexual
      orientation and gender identity are integral to each person’s dignity.




      States shall:


     A. Ensure that placement in  detention  avoids  further  marginalising
        persons on the basis of sexual orientation or  gender  identity  or
        subjecting them to risk of  violence,  ill-treatment  or  physical,
        mental or sexual abuse;


     B. Provide adequate access to medical care and counselling appropriate
        to the needs of those in custody, recognising any particular  needs
        of persons on the basis  of  their  sexual  orientation  or  gender
        identity, including with regard to reproductive health,  access  to
        HIV/AIDS information and therapy and access to  hormonal  or  other
        therapy as well as to gender-reassignment treatments where desired;


     C. Ensure, to the extent possible, that all prisoners  participate  in
        decisions regarding the place of  detention  appropriate  to  their
        sexual orientation and gender identity;


     D. Put protective measures in place for all  prisoners  vulnerable  to
        violence or abuse on the basis of their sexual orientation,  gender
        identity or gender expression and ensure, so far as  is  reasonably
        practicable, that  such  protective  measures  involve  no  greater
        restriction of their rights than  is  experienced  by  the  general
        prison population;


     E. Ensure that conjugal visits, where permitted,  are  granted  on  an
        equal basis to all  prisoners  and  detainees,  regardless  of  the
        gender of their partner;


     F. Provide for the independent monitoring of detention  facilities  by
        the State as well as by  non-governmental  organisations  including
        organisations working in the  spheres  of  sexual  orientation  and
        gender identity;


     G. Undertake programmes of training and awareness-raising  for  prison
        personnel and all other officials in the public and private  sector
        who are engaged in detention  facilities,  regarding  international
        human  rights  standards  and  principles  of  equality  and   non-
        discrimination, including in relation  to  sexual  orientation  and
        gender identity.


      18.   PROTECTION FROM MEDICAL ABUSES


      No  person  may  be  forced  to  undergo  any  form  of   medical   or
      psychological treatment, procedure,  testing,  or  be  confined  to  a
      medical facility, based on  sexual  orientation  or  gender  identity.
      Notwithstanding any classifications to the contrary, a person’s sexual
      orientation and gender identity are not, in and of themselves, medical
      conditions and are not to be treated, cured or suppressed.


      States shall:


     A. Take all necessary legislative, administrative and  other  measures
        to ensure full protection against harmful medical  practices  based
        on sexual orientation or gender identity, including on the basis of
        stereotypes, whether derived from culture or  otherwise,  regarding
        conduct, physical appearance or perceived gender norms;


     B. Take all necessary legislative, administrative and  other  measures
        to ensure that no child’s body is irreversibly altered  by  medical
        procedures in an attempt to impose a gender  identity  without  the
        full, free and informed consent of the child in accordance with the
        age and maturity of the child and guided by the principle  that  in
        all actions concerning children, the best interests  of  the  child
        shall be a primary consideration;


     C. Establish child protection mechanisms whereby no child is  at  risk
        of, or subjected to, medical abuse;


     D. Ensure protection of persons of  diverse  sexual  orientations  and
        gender  identities  against  unethical   or   involuntary   medical
        procedures  or  research,  including  in  relation   to   vaccines,
        treatments or microbicides for HIV/AIDS or other diseases;


     E. Review and amend  any  health  funding  provisions  or  programmes,
        including those  of  a  development-assistance  nature,  which  may
        promote, facilitate or  in  any  other  way  render  possible  such
        abuses;


     F. Ensure that any medical or psychological treatment  or  counselling
        does not, explicitly or implicitly, treat  sexual  orientation  and
        gender identity as medical  conditions  to  be  treated,  cured  or
        suppressed.


      19.  THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF OPINION AND EXPRESSION


      Everyone  has  the  right  to  freedom  of  opinion  and   expression,
      regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes the
      expression of  identity  or  personhood  through  speech,  deportment,
      dress, bodily characteristics, choice of name, or any other means,  as
      well as the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and  ideas
      of  all  kinds,  including  with  regard  to  human   rights,   sexual
      orientation and gender identity, through any medium and regardless  of
      frontiers.


      States shall:


     A. Take all necessary legislative, administrative and  other  measures
        to ensure full enjoyment of  freedom  of  opinion  and  expression,
        while  respecting  the  rights  and  freedoms  of  others,  without
        discrimination  on  the  basis  of  sexual  orientation  or  gender
        identity, including the receipt and imparting  of  information  and
        ideas concerning sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as
        related  advocacy  for  legal  rights,  publication  of  materials,
        broadcasting, organisation of or participation in conferences,  and
        dissemination of and access to safer-sex information;


     B.  Ensure that the outputs and the  organisation  of  media  that  is
        State-regulated is pluralistic and non-discriminatory in respect of
        issues of sexual orientation  and  gender  identity  and  that  the
        personnel recruitment and promotion policies of such  organisations
        are non-discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation or gender
        identity;


     C.  Take all necessary legislative, administrative and other  measures
        to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to  express  identity  or
        personhood, including through  speech,  deportment,  dress,  bodily
        characteristics, choice of name or any other means;


     D. Ensure that notions of public order, public morality, public health
        and  public  security  are  not  employed   to   restrict,   in   a
        discriminatory manner, any  exercise  of  freedom  of  opinion  and
        expression that  affirms  diverse  sexual  orientations  or  gender
        identities;


     E. Ensure that the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression  does
        not violate the rights and freedoms of persons  of  diverse  sexual
        orientations and gender identities;


     F. Ensure that all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender
        identity, enjoy equal access to information and ideas, as  well  as
        to participation in public debate.”



23.   UN bodies, Regional Human Rights Bodies, National  Courts,  Government
Commissions and the Commissions for Human Rights, Council  of  Europe,  etc.
have endorsed the Yogyakarta Principles  and  have  considered  them  as  an
important tool  for  identifying  the  obligations  of  States  to  respect,
protect and fulfill the human rights of all  persons,  regardless  of  their
gender identity.  United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and  Cultural
Rights in its Report  of  2009  speaks  of  gender  orientation  and  gender
identity as follows:-
      “Sexual orientation and gender identity
      ‘Other status’ as recognized  in  article  2,  paragraph  2,  includes
      sexual orientation.  States parties  should  ensure  that  a  person’s
      sexual orientation is not a barrier to realizing Covenant rights,  for
      example, in accessing survivor’s pension rights.  In addition,  gender
      identity  is  recognized  as   among   the   prohibited   grounds   of
      discrimination, for example, persons who are transgender,  transsexual
      or intersex, often face  serious  human  rights  violations,  such  as
      harassment in schools or in the workplace.”



24.   In this respect, reference may also be made  to  the  General  Comment
No.2 of the Committee on Torture and Article 2  of  the  Convention  against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading  Treatment  or  Punishment  in
2008 and also the General Comment No.20 of the Committee on  Elimination  of
Discrimination against Woman, responsible  for  the  implementation  of  the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against  Woman,
1979 and 2010 report.

SRS and Foreign Judgments

25.   Various countries have given recognition to the  gender  identity  of
such persons, mostly, in cases where transsexual persons started  asserting
their rights after undergoing SRS of their re-assigned sex.     In  Corbett
v. Corbett (1970) 2 All ER 33, the Court in England was concerned with  the
gender of a male to female transsexual in the context of the validity of  a
marriage.  Ormrod, J. in that case took the view that the law should  adopt
the chromosomal, gonadal and genital tests and if all three are  congruent,
that should determine a person’s sex for the purpose of marriage.   Learned
Judge expressed the view that any operative intervention should be  ignored
and the biological sexual constitution of an individual is fixed at  birth,
at the latest, and cannot be changed either by the natural  development  of
organs of the opposite sex or by medical or surgical means.  Later, in R v.
Tan (1983) QB 1053, 1063-1064, the Court of Appeal applied Corbett approach
in the context of criminal law.  The Court upheld  convictions  which  were
imposed on Gloria Greaves, a post-operative  male  to  female  transsexual,
still being in law, a man.

26.   Corbett principle was not found favour by  various  other  countries,
like New Zealand, Australia etc. and also attracted  much  criticism,  from
the medical profession.  It was felt that the application  of  the  Corbett
approach would lead to a substantial different outcome in cases of  a  post
operative inter-sexual person and a post operative transsexual person.   In
New Zealand in Attorney-General v. Otahuhu Family Court (1995) 1 NZLR  603,
Justice Ellis noted that once a transsexual person has  undergone  surgery,
he or she is no longer able to operate in his or her original sex.   It was
held that there is no social advantage in the law for not  recognizing  the
validity of the marriage of a transsexual in the sex of reassignment.   The
Court held that an adequate test is whether  the  person  in  question  has
undergone surgical and medical procedures that have effectively  given  the
person the physical conformation of a person of a  specified  sex.   In  Re
Kevin (Validity of Marriage of Transsexual)  (2001)  Fam  CA  1074,  in  an
Australian case, Chisholm J., held that there is no ‘formulaic solution’ to
determine the sex of an individual for the purpose of the law of  marriage.
It was held that all relevant matters need to be considered, including  the
person’s life experiences and self-perception.   Full Court of the  Federal
Family Court in the year 2003 approved the above-mentioned judgment holding
that in the relevant Commonwealth marriage  statute  the  words  ‘man’  and
‘woman’ should be given their ordinary, everyday contemporary  meaning  and
that the word ‘man’ includes a post operative female  to  male  transsexual
person.  The Full Court also held that there was  a  biological  basis  for
transsexualism and that there was no reason to exclude the psyche as one of
the relevant factors in determining sex and gender.  The judgment Attorney-
General for the Commonwealth & “Kevin and  Jennifer”  &  Human  Rights  and
Equal Opportunity Commission is reported in (2003) Fam CA 94.

27.  Lockhart, J. in Secretary, Department  of  Social  Security  v.  “SRA”,
(1993) 43 FCR 299 and Mathews, J. in R  v.  Harris  &  McGuiness  (1988)  17
NSWLR 158, made an exhaustive review of the various  decisions  with  regard
to the question of recognition to be accorded by Courts to the gender  of  a
transsexual person who had undertaken a  surgical  procedure.    The  Courts
generally in New Zealand held  that  the  decision  in  Corbett  v.  Corbett
(supra) and R v. Tan (supra) which applied a purely biological test,  should
not  be  followed.   In  fact,  Lockhart.  J.  in  SRA  observed  that   the
development in surgical and  medical  techniques  in  the  field  of  sexual
reassignment,  together  with  indications  of  changing  social   attitudes
towards transsexuals, would indicate  that  generally  they  should  not  be
regarded merely as a matter of chromosomes, which is purely a  psychological
question, one of self-perception, and partly a social question, how  society
perceives the individual.


28.  A.B. v. Western Australia (2011) HCA 42 was a case concerned  with  the
Gender Reassignment Act, 2000.  In that Act, a person who  had  undergone  a
reassignment procedure could apply to  Gender  Reassignment  Board  for  the
issue of a recognition certificate.   Under Section 15 of that  Act,  before
issuing the certificate, the Board had to be  satisfied,  inter  alia,  that
the applicant believed his or her true gender was  the  person’s  reassigned
gender and had adopted the lifestyle  and  gender  characteristics  of  that
gender.  Majority of Judges agreed with Lockhart, J.  in  SRA   that  gender
should not be regarded merely as a  matter  of  chromosomes,  but  partly  a
psychological  question,  one  of  self-perception,  and  partly  a   social
question, how society perceives the individual.

29.  The House of Lords in Bellinger v. Bellinger (2003) 2 All  ER  593  was
dealing with the question of a transsexual.  In that  case,  Mrs.  Bellinger
was born on 7th September, 1946.  At birth,  she  was  correctly  classified
and registered as male.  However, she felt more inclined  to  be  a  female.
Despite her inclinations, and under some pressure, in  1967  she  married  a
woman and at that time she was  21  years  old.   Marriage  broke  down  and
parties separated in 1971 and got divorce in the year 1975.  Mrs.  Bellinger
dressed and lived like a woman and when she married Mr.  Bellinger,  he  was
fully aware of her background and throughout had  been  supportive  to  her.
Mr. and Mrs. Bellinger since marriage lived happily as husband and wife  and
presented  themselves  in  that  fashion  to  the   outside   world.    Mrs.
Bellinger’s primary claim was for a declaration  under  Section  55  of  the
Family Law Act, 1986 that her marriage to Mr. Bellinger in 1981 was “at  its
inception valid marriage”.  The  House  of  Lords  rejected  the  claim  and
dismissed the appeal. Certainly, the “psychological  factor”  has  not  been
given much prominence in determination of the claim of Mrs. Bellinger.


30.  The High Court of Kuala  Lumpur  in  Re  JG,  JG  v.  Pengarah  Jabatan
Pendaftaran Negara (2006) 1 MLJ 90,  was  considering  the  question  as  to
whether an application to amend or correct gender status stated in  National
Registration Identity Card could be allowed after  a  person  has  undergone
SRS.  It was a case where the plaintiff was born as a male,  but  felt  more
inclined to be a woman.  In 1996 at Hospital Siroros she underwent a  gender
reassignment and got the surgery done for changing  the  sex  from  male  to
female and then she lived like a  woman.   She  applied  to  authorities  to
change her name and also for a declaration of her gender as female, but  her
request was not favourably considered, but still treated as  a  male.    She
sought a declaration from the Court that she be declared  as  a  female  and
that the Registration Department be directed to change  the  last  digit  of
her identity card to a digit that reflects a female gender.   The  Malaysian
Court  basically  applied  the  principle  laid  down  in  Corbett  (supra),
however, both the prayers sought for were granted, after noticing  that  the
medical men have spoken that  the  plaintiff  is  a  female  and  they  have
considered the sex change of the plaintiff as  well  as  her  “psychological
aspect”.   The Court noticed that she feels like a woman,  lives  like  one,
behaves as one, has her physical body attuned to one, and most important  of
all, her “psychological thinking” is that of a woman.


31.   The Court of Appeal, New South Wales was called  upon  to  decide  the
question whether the Registrar of  Births,  Deaths  and  Marriages  has  the
power under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act, 1995 to register a  change
of sex of a person and the sex recorded on the  register  to  “non-specific”
or “non-specified”.  The appeal was allowed  and  the  matter  was  remitted
back to the Tribunal for a  fresh  consideration  in  accordance  with  law,
after laying down the law on the  subject.   The  judgment  is  reported  as
Norrie v. NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages  (2013)  NSWCA  145.
While disposing of the appeal, the Court held as follows:-
      “The consequence is that the Appeal Panel (and the  Tribunal  and  the
      Registrar) were in error in  construing  the  power  in  S.32DC(1)  as
      limiting the Registrar to registering a person’s change of sex as only
      male or female.   An  error  in  the  construction  of  the  statutory
      provision granting the power to register a person’s change of  sex  is
      an error on a question of law.  Collector  of  Customs  v.  Pozzolanic
      Enterprises Pty. Ltd. [1993] FCA 322; (1993) 43 FCR 280 at 287.   This
      is  so  notwithstanding  that  the   determination   of   the   common
      understanding of a general word used in the statutory provision  is  a
      question of  fact.   The  Appeal  Panel  (and  the  Tribunal  and  the
      Registrar) erred in determining that the current ordinary  meaning  of
      the word “sex” is limited to the character of  being  either  male  or
      female. That involved an error on a question of fact.  But the  Appeal
      Panel’s error in arriving at the  common  understanding  of  the  word
      “sex” was associated with its error in construction of the  effect  of
      the  statutory  provision  of  S.32DC  (and  also  of   S.32DA),   and
      accordingly is of law: Hope v. Bathurst City Council  [1980]  HCA  16,
      (1980) 144 CLR 1 at 10.”


32.  In Christine Goodwin  v.  United  Kingdom  (Application  No.28957/95  -
Judgment dated  11th  July,  2002),  the  European  Court  of  Human  Rights
examined an application alleging violation of Articles 8, 12, 13 and  14  of
the Convention for Protection of  Human  Rights  and  Fundamental  Freedoms,
1997 in respect of the legal status of transsexuals in UK  and  particularly
their treatment in the sphere of employment, social security,  pensions  and
marriage.  Applicant in that case had a tendency to dress as  a  woman  from
early childhood and underwent aversion therapy in  1963-64.    In  the  mid-
1960s she was diagnosed as a transsexual.   Though she married a  woman  and
they had four children, her inclination was that her  “brain  sex”  did  not
fit her body.  From that time until 1984 she dressed as a man for  work  but
as a woman in  her  free  time.   In  January,  1985,  the  applicant  began
treatment at the Gender Identity Clinic.  In October,  1986,  she  underwent
surgery to shorten her vocal chords.  In August, 1987, she was  accepted  on
the waiting list for gender re-assignment surgery and later  underwent  that
surgery  at  a  National  Health  Service  hospital.   The  applicant  later
divorced her former wife.   She  claimed  between  1990  and  1992  she  was
sexually harassed by colleagues at work,  followed  by  other  human  rights
violations.   The  Court  after  referring   to   various   provisions   and
Conventions held as follows:-

      “Nonetheless, the very essence of the Convention is respect for  human
      dignity and human freedom.  Under  Article  8  of  the  Convention  in
      particular, where the notion of  personal  autonomy  is  an  important
      principle underlying the interpretation of its guarantees,  protection
      is given to the personal sphere of  each  individuals,  including  the
      right to establish details  of  their  identity  as  individual  human
      beings (see, inter alia, Pretty  v.  the  United  Kingdom  no.2346/02,
      judgment of 29 April 2002, 62, and Mikulic  v.  Croatia,  no.53176/99,
      judgment of 7 February 2002, 53, both to be published in ECHR  2002…).
      In the twenty first century the  right  of  transsexuals  to  personal
      development and to physical and  moral  security  in  the  full  sense
      enjoyed by others in  society  cannot  be  regarded  as  a  matter  of
      controversy requiring the lapse of time to cast clearer light  on  the
      issues involved.  In short, the unsatisfactory situation in which post-
      operative transsexuals live in an intermediate zone as not  quite  one
      gender or the other is no longer sustainable.”


33.  The European Court of Human Rights in the case of Van Kuck  v.  Germany
(Application  No.35968/97  –  Judgment  dated  12.9.2003)  dealt  with   the
application alleging that German Court’s decisions refusing the  applicant’s
claim for reimbursement of gender  reassignment  measures  and  the  related
proceedings were in breach of her rights to a fair trial and  of  her  right
to respect for her private life and that they amounted to discrimination  on
the ground  of  her  particular  “psychological  situation”.   Reliance  was
placed on Articles 6, 8, 13 and 14  of  the  Convention  for  Protection  of
Human Rights and Fundamental  Freedoms,  1997.   The  Court  held  that  the
concept of “private life” covers the physical  and  psychological  integrity
of a  person,  which  can  sometimes  embrace  aspects  of  an  individual’s
physical and social identity.  For  example,  gender  identifications,  name
and sexual orientation and sexual  life  fall  within  the  personal  sphere
protected by Article 8.  The Court also held that  the  notion  of  personal
identity is an important principle underlying the interpretation of  various
guaranteed rights and the very essence of the Convention being  respect  for
human dignity and human  freedom,  protection  is  given  to  the  right  of
transsexuals to personal development and to physical and moral security.


34.   Judgments referred to above are mainly related to  transsexuals,  who,
whilst belonging physically to one sex, feel convinced that they  belong  to
the other, seek  to  achieve  a  more  integrated  unambiguous  identity  by
undergoing  medical  and  surgical  operations  to  adapt   their   physical
characteristic to their psychological nature.  When we  examine  the  rights
of transsexual persons, who have undergone SRS, the test to  be  applied  is
not  the  “Biological  test”,  but   the   “Psychological   test”,   because
psychological factor and thinking of transsexual has  to  be  given  primacy
than binary notion of gender of that  person.   Seldom  people  realize  the
discomfort, distress and psychological trauma,  they  undergo  and  many  of
them  undergo  “Gender  Dysphoria’  which  may  lead  to  mental   disorder.
Discrimination faced by this group in our society,  is  rather  unimaginable
and their rights have to be  protected,  irrespective  of  chromosomal  sex,
genitals,  assigned  birth  sex,  or  implied  gender   role.    Rights   of
transgenders, pure and simple, like Hijras, eunuchs, etc. have  also  to  be
examined, so also their right to remain as a third gender as well  as  their
physical and psychological  integrity.    Before  addressing  those  aspects
further, we may also refer to few legislations enacted  in  other  countries
recognizing their rights.

LEGISLATIONS IN OTHER COUNTRIES ON TGs

35.  We notice, following the trend, in the international human rights  law,
many countries have enacted  laws  for  recognizing  rights  of  transsexual
persons, who have undergone either partial/complete  SRS,  including  United
Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Canada,  Argentina,  etc.   United
Kingdom has passed the  General  Recommendation  Act,  2004,  following  the
judgment in   Christine Goodwin (supra) passed by  the  European  Courts  of
Human Rights.   The Act is all encompassing as  not  only  does  it  provide
legal recognition to the acquired gender of a person, but it also lays  down
provisions highlighting  the  consequences  of  the  newly  acquired  gender
status on their legal rights and entitlements in  various  aspects  such  as
marriage, parentage, succession, social security and  pensions  etc.     One
of the notable features of the Act is  that  it  is  not  necessary  that  a
person needs to have undergone or in the process  of  undergoing  a  SRS  to
apply under the Act.  Reference in  this  connection  may  be  made  to  the
Equality Act, 2010  (UK)  which  has  consolidated,  repealed  and  replaced
around nine different anti-discrimination  legislations  including  the  Sex
Discrimination Act, 1986.   The Act defines certain  characteristics  to  be
“protected characteristics” and no one shall  be  discriminated  or  treated
less favourably on grounds that the person possesses  one  or  more  of  the
“protected characteristics”.  The Act also imposes duties on  Public  Bodies
to eliminate all kinds  of  discrimination,  harassment  and  victimization.
Gender  reassignment  has  been   declared   as   one   of   the   protected
characteristics under the Act, of course, only the transsexuals  i.e.  those
who are proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone the process  of
the gender reassignment are protected under the Act.

36.   In Australia, there are two Acts dealing  with  the  gender  identity,
(1) Sex Discrimination Act, 1984;  and  (ii)  Sex  Discrimination  Amendment
(Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex  Status)  Act,  2013  (Act
2013).  Act 2013  amends  the  Sex  Discrimination  Act,  1984.    Act  2013
defines gender identity as the appearance or  mannerisms  or  other  gender-
related characteristics of a person (whether by way of medical  intervention
or not) with or without regard to the person’s designated sex at birth.
      Sections 5(A), (B) and (C) of the 2013 Act  have  some  relevance  and
the same are extracted hereinbelow:-
      “5A  Discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation
     
      (1)  For the purposes  of  this  Act,  a  person  (the  discriminator)
      discriminates against another person (the  aggrieved  person)  on  the
      ground of the aggrieved person’s sexual orientation if, by reason of:


      (a)   the aggrieved person’s sexual orientation; or
      (b)   a characteristic that appertains generally to persons  who  have
           the same sexual orientation as the aggrieved person; or
      (c)   a characteristic that is generally imputed to persons  who  have
           the same sexual orientation as the aggrieved person;


      the discriminator treats the aggrieved person less favourably than, in
      circumstances that are the same or are not materially  different,  the
      discriminator treats or would treat  a  person  who  has  a  different
      sexual orientation.


      (2)  For the purposes  of  this  Act,  a  person  (the  discriminator)
      discriminates against another person (the  aggrieved  person)  on  the
      ground  of  the  aggrieved  person’s   sexual   orientation   if   the
      discriminator imposes, or proposes to impose, a condition, requirement
      or  practice  that  has,  or  is  likely  to  have,  the   effect   of
      disadvantaging persons who have the same  sexual  orientation  as  the
      aggrieved person.


      (3)  This section has effect subject to sections 7B and 7D.


      5B  Discrimination on the ground of gender identity


      (1)  For the purposes  of  this  Act,  a  person  (the  discriminator)
      discriminates against another person (the  aggrieved  person)  on  the
      ground of the aggrieved person’s gender identity if, by reason of:
      (a)   the aggrieved person’s gender identity; or
      (b)   a characteristic that appertains generally to persons  who  have
           the same gender identity as the aggrieved person; or
      (c)   a characteristic that is generally imputed to persons  who  have
           the same gender identity as the aggrieved person;


      the discriminator treats the aggrieved person less favourably than, in
      circumstances that are the same or are not materially  different,  the
      discriminator treats or would treat  a  person  who  has  a  different
      gender identity.


      (2)  For the purposes  of  this  Act,  a  person  (the  discriminator)
      discriminates against another person (the  aggrieved  person)  on  the
      ground of the aggrieved person’s gender identity if the  discriminator
      imposes, or proposes to impose, a condition, requirement  or  practice
      that has, or is likely to have, the effect of  disadvantaging  persons
      who have the same gender identity as the aggrieved person.


      (3)  This section has effect subject to sections 7B and 7D.


      5C  Discrimination on the ground of intersex status


      (1)  For the purposes  of  this  Act,  a  person  (the  discriminator)
      discriminates against another person (the  aggrieved  person)  on  the
      ground of the aggrieved person’s intersex status if, by reason of:
      (a)   the aggrieved person’s intersex status; or


      (b)    a  characteristic  that  appertains  generally  to  persons  of
           intersex status; or


      (c)   a  characteristic  that  is  generally  imputed  to  persons  of
           intersex status;


      the discriminator treats the aggrieved person less favourably than, in
      circumstances that are the same or are not materially  different,  the
      discriminator treats or would treat a person who is  not  of  intersex
      status.


      (2)  For the purposes  of  this  Act,  a  person  (the  discriminator)
      discriminates against another person (the  aggrieved  person)  on  the
      ground of the aggrieved person’s intersex status if the  discriminator
      imposes, or proposes to impose, a condition, requirement  or  practice
      that has, or is likely to have, the effect of  disadvantaging  persons
      of intersex status.


      (3)  This section has effect subject to sections 7B and 7D.”
      Various other precautions have also been provided under the Act.

37.  We may in this respect also refer to the  European  Union  Legislations
on transsexuals.   Recital 3 of the Preamble to the Directive 2006/54/EC  of
European Parliament and the  Council  of  5  July  2006  makes  an  explicit
reference to discrimination based on gender reassignment for the first  time
in European Union Law.   Recital 3 reads as under :-
      “The Court of Justice has held that the  scope  of  the  principle  of
      equal  treatment  for  men  and  women  cannot  be  confined  to   the
      prohibition of discrimination based on the fact that a  person  is  of
      one or other sex.  In view of this  purpose  and  the  nature  of  the
      rights which it seeks to safeguard, it also applies to  discrimination
      arising from the gender reassignment of a person.”


38.   European  Parliament  also  adopted  a  resolution  on  discrimination
against transsexuals on 12th September, 1989  and  called  upon  the  Member
States to take steps for the protection of transsexual persons and  to  pass
legislation to further that end.  Following that Hungary has  enacted  Equal
Treatment  and  the  Promotion  of  Equal  Opportunities  Act,  2003,  which
includes sexual identity as one of the  grounds  of  discrimination.    2010
paper on ‘Transgender Persons’ Rights in the EU Member  States  prepared  by
the Policy Department of the  European  Parliament   presents  the  specific
situation of transgender people in 27 Member States of the  European  Union.
In the United States of America some of the laws enacted by the  States  are
inconsistent with each other.   The Federal Law  which  provides  protection
to transgenders is The Matthew Shepard  and  James  Byrd.  Jr.  Hate  Crimes
Prevention Act, 2009, which expands the scope  of  the  1969  United  States
Federal Hate-crime  Law  by  including  offences   motivated  by  actual  or
perceived gender identity.   Around 15 States and District  of  Colombia  in
the  United  States  have  legislations  which  prohibit  discrimination  on
grounds  of  gender  identity  and  expression.   Few  States  have   issued
executive orders prohibiting discrimination.

39.  The Parliament of South Africa in the year 2003, enacted Alteration  of
Sex Description and Sex Status Act, 2003, which permits transgender  persons
who  have   undergone   gender   reassignment   or   people   whose   sexual
characteristics have evolved naturally or an intersexed person to  apply  to
the Director  General  of  the  National  Department  of  Home  Affairs  for
alteration of his/her sex description in  the  birth  register,  though  the
legislation  does  not  contemplate   a   more   inclusive   definition   of
transgenders.

40.    The Senate of Argentina in the year  2012  passed  a  law  on  Gender
Identity that recognizes right by all persons to the  recognition  of  their
gender identity as well as free development of  their  person  according  to
their gender identity and can  also  request  that  their  recorded  sex  be
amended along with the changes in first name and  image,  whenever  they  do
not agree with the self-perceived gender identity.  Not necessary that  they
seemed to prove that a surgical  procedure  for  total  or  partial  genital
reassignment, hormonal therapies  or  any  other  psychological  or  medical
treatment had taken place.   Article  12  deals  with  dignified  treatment,
respecting the gender identity adopted by the individual,  even  though  the
first name is different from the one recorded  in  their  national  identity
documents.   Further laws  also  provide  that  whenever  requested  by  the
individual, the adopted first name must be used  for  summoning,  recording,
filing, calling and any other procedure or service  in  public  and  private
spaces.


41.   In Germany, a new law has come  into  force  on  5th  November,  2013,
which allows the parents to  register  the  sex  of  the  children  as  ‘not
specified’ in the case of children with intersex  variation.   According  to
Article 22, Section 3 of the German Civil Statutes Act reads as follows:-
      “If a child can be assigned to neither the female  nor  the  male  sex
      then the child has to be named without a specification”


42.   The law has also added a category of X, apart from “M” and “F”  under
the classification of gender in the passports.

Indian Scenario


43.   We have referred exhaustively to the various judicial  pronouncements
and legislations on the international arena to highlight the fact that  the
recognition of “sex identity gender” of persons, and “guarantee to equality
and non-discrimination” on the ground of gender identity or  expression  is
increasing and gaining acceptance in international law and,  therefore,  be
applied in India as well.

44.   Historical background  of  Transgenders  in  India  has  already  been
dealth in the earlier part of this Judgment indicating that they  were  once
treated with great respect,  at  least  in  the  past,  though  not  in  the
present. We can perceive a wide range  of  transgender  related  identities,
cultures or experiences which are generally as follows:
      “Hijras: Hijras are biological  males  who  reject  their  ‘masculine’
      identity in due course of time to identify either as women,  or  “not-
      men”, or “in-between man and  woman”,  or  “neither  man  nor  woman”.
      Hijras   can   be    considered   as   the   western   equivalent   of
      transgender/transsexual (male-to-female) persons  but  Hijras  have  a
      long tradition/culture and have strong social ties formalized  through
      a ritual called “reet” (becoming a member of Hijra community).   There
      are regional variations in the use of terms referred to  Hijras.   For
      example, Kinnars (Delhi) and Aravanis (Tamil Nadu).  Hijras  may  earn
      through their traditional work: ‘Badhai’  (clapping  their  hands  and
      asking for alms), blessing new-born babies, or dancing in  ceremonies.
      Some proportion of Hijras engage in sex work for  lack  of  other  job
      opportunities, while some  may  be  self-employed  or  work  for  non-
      governmental organisations.” (See UNDP India Report (December, 2010).


      Eunuch:     Eunuch refers to an emasculated male and intersexed  to  a
      person whose genitals are ambiguously male-like at birth, but this  is
      discovered the child previously assigned to the  male  sex,  would  be
      recategorized as intesexexd – as a Hijra.


      “Aravanis  and  ‘Thirunangi’  –  Hijras  in  Tamil  Nadu  identify  as
      “Aravani”.  Tamil Nadu Aravanigal Welfare Board, a state  government’s
      initiative under the Department of Social Welfare defines Aravanis  as
      biological males who self-identify themselves as a woman trapped in  a
      male’s body.  Some Aravani activists want the public and media to  use
      the term ‘Thirunangi’ to refer to Aravanis.


      Kothi – Kothis are a heterogeneous group.  ‘Kothis’ can  be  described
      as biological males who show varying degrees of ‘femininity’  –  which
      may be situational.  Some proportion of Kothis have bisexual  behavior
      and  get  married  to  a  woman.   Kothis  are  generally   of   lower
      socioeconomic status and some engage in sex work for  survival.   Some
      proportion of Hijra-identified people may also identify themselves  as
      ‘Kothis’.  But not all Kothi identified people identify themselves  as
      transgender or Hijras.


      Jogtas/Jogappas:  Jogtas  or  Jogappas  are  those  persons  who   are
      dedicated to and serve as a servant of goddess Renukha Devi (Yellamma)
      whose temples are  present  in  Maharashtra  and  Karnataka.   ‘Jogta’
      refers to male servant of that Goddess and ‘Jogti’  refers  to  female
      servant (who is also sometimes referred to as  ‘Devadasi’).   One  can
      become a ‘Jogta’ (or Jogti) if it is part of their family tradition or
      if one finds a ‘Guru’ (or ‘Pujari’) who accepts him/her as  a  ‘Chela’
      or ‘Shishya’ (disciple).  Sometimes, the term ‘Jogti Hijras’  is  used
      to  denote  those   male-to-female   transgender   persons   who   are
      devotees/servants of Goddess Renukha Devi and  who  are  also  in  the
      Hijra communities.  This term  is  used  to  differentiate  them  from
      ‘Jogtas’ who are heterosexuals and who may or may not dress in woman’s
      attire when they worship the Goddess.  Also, that term  differentiates
      them from  ‘Jogtis’  who  are  biological  females  dedicated  to  the
      Goddess.  However, ‘Jogti Hijras’ may refer to themselves  as  ‘Jogti’
      (female pronoun) or Hijras, and even sometimes as ‘Jogtas’.


      Shiv-Shakthis:    Shiv-Shakthis  are  considered  as  males  who   are
      possessed by or particularly close to a goddess and who have  feminine
      gender expression.  Usually, Shiv-Shakthis are inducted into the Shiv-
      Shakti community by senior gurus, who teach them the  norms,  customs,
      and rituals to be observed by them.  In a ceremony, Shiv-Shakthis  are
      married to a sword that represents male power or Shiva (deity).  Shiv-
      Shakthis thus become the bride  of  the  sword.   Occasionally,  Shiv-
      Shakthis cross-dress  and  use  accessories  and  ornaments  that  are
      generally/socially meant for women.  Most  people  in  this  community
      belong to lower socio-economic status and earn  for  their  living  as
      astrologers, soothsayers, and spiritual healers; some also seek alms.”
       (See Serena  Nanda,  Wadsworth  Publishing  Company,  Second  Edition
      (1999)




45.   Transgender people, as a whole, face multiple forms of  oppression  in
this country.  Discrimination is so large and pronounced, especially in  the
field of health care, employment, education, leave aside  social  exclusion.
A detailed study was conducted by the United Nations  Development  Programme
(UNDP  –  India)   and   submitted   a   report   in   December,   2010   on
Hijras/transgenders in India: “HIV Human Rights and Social Exclusion”.   The
Report states  that  the  HIV  Human  Immunodeficiency  Virus  and  Sexually
Transmitted   Infections    (STI)    is    now    increasingly    seen    in
Hijras/transgenders population.  The estimated size  of  men  who  have  sex
with men (MSM) and male sex workers population in India  (latter  presumably
includes Hijras/TG communities) is 2,352,133 and 235,213  respectively.   It
was stated that no reliable estimates are  available  for  Hijras/TG  women.
HIV prevalence among MSM population was 7.4% against the overall  adult  HIV
prevalence of 0.36%.  It was stated recently Hijras/TG people were  included
under the category of MSM in HIV  sentinel  serosurveillance.   It  is  also
reported in recent studies that Hijras/TG women have indicated a  very  high
HIV prevalence (17.5% to 41%) among them.   Study  conducted  by  NACO  also
highlights a pathetic situation.  Report submitted by NACI, NACP IV  Working
Group  Hijras  TG  dated  5.5.2011  would  indicate  that  transgenders  are
extremely vulnerable  to  HIV.   Both  the  reports  highlight  the  extreme
necessity of taking emergent steps to improve their  sexual  health,  mental
health and also address the issue of social  exclusion.   The  UNDP  in  its
report has made the following recommendations, which are as under:
      “Multiple problems are faced by Hijras/TG, which necessitate a variety
      of solutions  and  actions.   While  some  actions  require  immediate
      implementation such as introducing  Hijra/TG-specific  social  welfare
      schemes, some actions need to be taken on a long-term  basis  changing
      the negative attitude of the general public  and  increasing  accurate
      knowledge about Hijra/TG communities.  The required changes need to be
      reflected in policies and laws; attitude of  the  government,  general
      public  and  health  care  providers;  and  health  care  systems  and
      practice.  Key recommendations include the following:


     1.  Address  the   gape   in   NACP-III:    establish   HIV   sentinel
        serosurveillance  sites  for  Hijras/TG  at  strategic   locations;
        conduct operations research to  design  and  fine-tune  culturally-
        relevant package of  HIV  prevention  and  care  interventions  for
        Hijras/TG; provide financial support for the formation of CBOs  run
        by Hijras/TG; and build the capacity of CBOs to implement effective
        rogrammes.


     2. Move beyond focusing on individual-level HIV prevention  activities
        to address the structural determinants of risks  and  mitigate  the
        impact of risks.  For example,  mental  health  counseling,  crisis
        intervention (crisis in relation  to  suicidal  tendencies,  police
        harassment and  arrests,  support  following  sexual  and  physical
        violence), addressing alcohol and drug  abuse,  and  connecting  to
        livelihood programs all need to be part of the HIV interventions.


     3. Train health care  providers  to  be  competent  and  sensitive  in
        providing health  care  services  (including  STI  and  HIV-related
        services)  to  Hijras/TG   as   well   as   develop   and   monitor
        implementation of guidelines related to gender transition  and  sex
        reassignment surgery (SRS).


     4. Clarify the ambiguous legal status of sex reassignment surgery  and
        provide gender transition and SRS  services  (with  proper  pre-and
        post-operation/transition counseling) for free in public  hospitals
        in various parts in India.


     5. Implement stigma and discrimination reduction measures  at  various
        settings through a variety of ways: mass media  awareness  for  the
        general public to focused training and sensitization for police and
        health care providers.


     6. Develop action steps toward taking a position on legal  recognition
        of gender identity of Hijras/TG need to be  taken  in  consultation
        with  Hijras/TG  and  other  key   stakeholders.    Getting   legal
        recognition and avoiding ambiguities in the current procedures that
        issue identity documents to Hijras/TGs are  required  as  they  are
        connected to basic civil rights such as access to health and public
        services, right to vote,  right  to  contest  elections,  right  to
        education, inheritance rights, and marriage and child adoption.


     7. Open up the existing Social Welfare Schemes for needy Hijras/TG and
        create specific welfare schemes  to  address  the  basic  needs  of
        Hijras/TG including housing and employment needs.


     8. Ensure greater  involvement  of  vulnerable  communities  including
        Hijras/TG women in policy formulation and program development.”



46.   Social exclusion and discrimination on the ground  of  gender  stating
that one does not conform to the binary gender  (male/female)  does  prevail
in India.   Discussion on gender identity including  self-identification  of
gender of male/female or as transgender mostly focuses on those persons  who
are assigned male sex at birth, whether  one  talks  of  Hijra  transgender,
woman or male or male to female transgender persons,  while  concern  voiced
by those who are identified as female to  male  trans-sexual  persons  often
not properly addressed. Female to male unlike Hijra/transgender persons  are
not quite visible in  public  unlike  Hijra/transgender  persons.   Many  of
them, however, do experience violence and discrimination  because  of  their
sexual orientation or gender identity.

INDIA TO FOLLOW INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS


47.   International Conventions and norms are significant  for  the  purpose
of  interpretation  of  gender  equality.   Article  1  of   the   Universal
declaration on Human Rights, 1948, states that  all  human-beings  are  born
free  and  equal  in  dignity  and  rights.   Article  3  of  the  Universal
Declaration of Human Rights states  that  everyone  has  a  right  to  life,
liberty and security of person. Article 6 of the International  Covenant  on
Civil and Political Rights, 1966  affirms that  every  human-being  has  the
inherent right to life, which right shall be protected by  law  and  no  one
shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.    Article  5  of  the  Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the International  Covenant  on
Civil and Political Rights  provide  that  no  one  shall  be  subjected  to
torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or  punishment.    United
Nations Convention against Torture and Other  Cruel  Inhuman  and  Degrading
Treatment or Punishment (dated 24th January, 2008) specifically  deals  with
protection of individuals and groups made vulnerable  by  discrimination  or
marginalization.   Para 21 of the Convention states that States are  obliged
to protect from torture or ill-treatment all persons  regardless  of  sexual
orientation or transgender identity and to  prohibit,  prevent  and  provide
redress for torture and ill-treatment in all contests of  State  custody  or
control.  Article 12 of  the  Universal  Declaration  of  Human  Rights  and
Article 17 of the International  Covenant  on  Civil  and  Political  Rights
state that no one shall be subjected to “arbitrary or unlawful  interference
with his privacy, family, home or correspondence”.

48.   Above-mentioned  International  Human  Rights  instruments  which  are
being followed by various countries in the world are aimed  to  protect  the
human  rights  of  transgender  people  since  it  has  been  noticed   that
transgenders/transsexuals often face serious human rights  violations,  such
as harassment in work  place,  hospitals,  places  of  public  conveniences,
market places, theaters, railway stations, bus stands, and so on.

49.   Indian Law, on the whole,  only  recognizes  the  paradigm  of  binary
genders of male and female, based on  a  person’s  sex  assigned  by  birth,
which permits  gender  system,  including  the  law  relating  to  marriage,
adoption, inheritance, succession and  taxation  and  welfare  legislations.
We  have  exhaustively  referred  to  various  articles  contained  in   the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, the International  Covenant  on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966, the  International  Covenant  on
Civil and Political Rights, 1966  as  well  as  the  Yogyakarta  principles.
Reference was also made to  legislations enacted in other countries  dealing
with rights of persons of transgender community.   Unfortunately we have  no
legislation  in  this  country  dealing  with  the  rights  of   transgender
community.  Due to  the  absence  of  suitable  legislation  protecting  the
rights of  the  members  of  the  transgender  community,  they  are  facing
discrimination in various areas  and  hence  the  necessity  to  follow  the
International Conventions to which India is a party and to give due  respect
to   other   non-binding   International   Conventions    and    principles.
Constitution makers could not have  envisaged  that  each  and  every  human
activity be guided, controlled, recognized or safeguarded by  laws  made  by
the legislature.   Article 21  has  been  incorporated  to  safeguard  those
rights and a constitutional Court cannot be  a  mute  spectator  when  those
rights are violated, but is expected to safeguard those rights  knowing  the
pulse and feeling of that community,  though  a  minority,  especially  when
their rights have gained universal recognition and acceptance.


50.   Article 253 of the Constitution of India states  that  the  Parliament
has the power to make any law for the whole or any part of the territory  of
India for implementing any  treaty,  agreement  or  convention.   Generally,
therefore, a legislation is  required  for  implementing  the  international
conventions, unlike the position in the United States of America  where  the
rules of international law are  applied  by  the  municipal  courts  on  the
theory of their implied adoption  by  the  State,  as  a  part  of  its  own
municipal law.   Article VI, Cl. (2)  of  the  U.S.  Constitution  reads  as
follows:
      “……..all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of
      the united States, shall be the supreme  law  of  the  land,  and  the
      judges in  every  State  shall  be  bound  thereby,  anything  in  the
      Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary not-withstanding.”

51.   In the United States, however, it is open to the courts to  supersede
or modify international law in its application or it may be  controlled  by
the treaties entered into by the  United  States.   But,  till  an  Act  of
Congress is passed, the Court is bound by the law of nations, which is part
of the law of the land.   Such  a  ‘supremacy  clause’  is  absent  in  our
Constitution.  Courts in India would apply the rules of  International  law
according  to  the  principles  of  comity  of  Nations,  unless  they  are
overridden by clear rules of domestic law.    See:  Gramophone  Company  of
India Ltd. v. Birendra Bahadur Pandey (1984) 2 SCC 534 and  Tractor  Export
v. Tarapore & Co. (1969) 3 SCC 562, Mirza Ali Akbar Kashani v. United  Arab
Republic  (1966) 1 SCR 391.  In the case of Jolly George Varghese  v.  Bank
of Cochin (1980) 2 SCC 360,  the  Court  applied  the  above  principle  in
respect of the International Covenant on Civil and Political  Rights,  1966
as well as in connection with the Universal Declaration  of  Human  Rights.
India has ratified the above mentioned covenants,  hence,  those  covenants
can be used by the municipal courts as an  aid  to  the  Interpretation  of
Statutes by applying the Doctrine of Harmonization.    But,  certainly,  if
the Indian law  is  not  in  conflict  with  the  International  covenants,
particularly pertaining to human rights, to which India  is  a  party,  the
domestic court can apply those principles in the Indian  conditions.    The
Interpretation of International Conventions is governed by Articles 31  and
32 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969.

52.   Article 51 of the Directive Principles of State Policy,  which  falls
under Part IV of the Indian Constitution, reads as under:
      “Art. 51.  The State shall endeavour to –
     a) promote international peace and security;


     b)  maintain just and honourable relations between nations;


     c) Foster respect for international law and treaty obligation  in  the
        dealings of organised peoples with one another; and


     d) Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.”



53.   Article 51, as already indicated, has to be read along  with  Article
253 of the Constitution.  If the parliament has made any legislation  which
is in conflict with the international law, then Indian Courts are bound  to
give effect to the Indian Law, rather than the international law.  However,
in the absence of a contrary legislation, municipal courts in  India  would
respect the rules  of  international  law.   In  His  Holiness  Kesavananda
Bharati Sripadavalvaru v. State of Kerala (1973) 4 SCC 225, it  was  stated
that in view of Article 51 of the Constitution, the  Court  must  interpret
language of the Constitution, if not intractable, in the  light  of  United
Nations Charter and the solemn declaration subscribed to it by  India.   In
Apparel Export Promotion Council v. A. K. Chopra (1999) 1 SCC 759,  it  was
pointed out that domestic courts are under an obligation to give due regard
to the international conventions and  norms  for  construing  the  domestic
laws, more so, when there is no inconsistency between them and there  is  a
void in domestic law. Reference may also be made to the Judgments  of  this
Court in Githa Hariharan (Ms) and another v.  Reserve  Bank  of  India  and
another (1999) 2 SCC 228, R.D. Upadhyay  v. State  of  Andhra  Pradesh  and
others (2007) 15 SCC 337 and People’s Union for Civil Liberties   v.  Union
of India and another (2005) 2 SCC 436.  In Vishaka and others v.  State  of
Rajasthan and Others (1997) 6 SCC 241, this Court under  Article  141  laid
down various guidelines to prevent sexual harassment of  women  in  working
places, and to enable gender  equality  relying  on  Articles  11,  24  and
general recommendations 22, 23 and 24 of the Convention on the  Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Any international  convention
not inconsistent with the fundamental rights and in harmony with its spirit
must be read into those provisions, e.g., Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the
Constitution to enlarge the meaning and content thereof and to promote  the
object of constitutional guarantee.  Principles discussed  hereinbefore  on
TGs and the International  Conventions,  including  Yogyakarta  principles,
which we have found not inconsistent with the  various  fundamental  rights
guaranteed under the Indian Constitution, must be recognized and  followed,
which has sufficient legal and historical justification in our country.

ARTICLE 14 AND TRANSGENDERS

54.   Article 14 of the Constitution of India states that the  State  shall
not deny to “any person” equality before the law or the equal protection of
the laws within the territory of India.  Equality  includes  the  full  and
equal enjoyment of all rights and freedom.   Right  to  equality  has  been
declared as the basic feature of the Constitution and treatment  of  equals
as unequals or unequals as equals will be violative of the basic  structure
of the Constitution.  Article 14 of the  Constitution  also  ensures  equal
protection and hence a positive obligation on the  State  to  ensure  equal
protection of laws by bringing in necessary social and economic changes, so
that everyone including TGs may enjoy equal protection of laws  and  nobody
is denied such protection. Article 14 does not restrict the  word  ‘person’
and its application only to male or female. Hijras/transgender persons  who
are neither male/female fall within the  expression  ‘person’  and,  hence,
entitled to legal protection of laws in  all  spheres  of  State  activity,
including employment, healthcare, education as  well  as  equal  civil  and
citizenship rights, as enjoyed by any other citizen of this country.

55.   Petitioners have asserted  as  well  as  demonstrated  on  facts  and
figures  supported  by  relevant  materials  that  despite   constitutional
guarantee of equality, Hijras/transgender persons have been facing  extreme
discrimination in all spheres  of  the  society.   Non-recognition  of  the
identity of Hijras/transgender persons denies them equal protection of law,
thereby leaving them  extremely  vulnerable  to  harassment,  violence  and
sexual assault in public spaces, at home and in jail, also by  the  police.
Sexual assault, including molestation, rape, forced anal and oral sex, gang
rape and stripping is being committed with impunity and there are  reliable
statistics  and  materials  to  support  such  activities.   Further,  non-
recognition of identity of Hijras  /transgender  persons  results  in  them
facing extreme discrimination in all spheres of society, especially in  the
field of employment, education, healthcare etc.  Hijras/transgender persons
face huge discrimination in  access  to  public  spaces  like  restaurants,
cinemas, shops, malls etc.   Further, access to public toilets  is  also  a
serious problem they face quite  often.    Since,  there  are  no  separate
toilet facilities for Hijras/transgender persons, they  have  to  use  male
toilets  where  they  are  prone  to   sexual   assault   and   harassment.
Discrimination on the ground of  sexual  orientation  or  gender  identity,
therefore, impairs equality before law and  equal  protection  of  law  and
violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

ARTICLES 15 & 16 AND TRANSGENDERS

56.   Articles 15 and 16 prohibit discrimination  against  any  citizen  on
certain enumerated grounds, including the ground of ‘sex’.   In fact,  both
the  Articles  prohibit  all  forms  of  gender  bias  and   gender   based
discrimination.

57.   Article 15 states that the State shall not discriminate  against  any
citizen, inter alia, on the ground of sex, with regard to
(a)   access to shops, public  restaurants,  hotels  and  places  of  public
      entertainment; or
(b)   use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public  resort
      maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use
      of the general public.
      The requirement of taking affirmative action for the  advancement  of
any socially  and  educationally  backward  classes  of  citizens  is  also
provided in this Article.

58.   Article 16 states that there shall be equality of  opportunities  for
all the citizens in matters relating to employment or  appointment  to  any
office under the State. Article 16 (2) of the Constitution of  India  reads
as follows :
      “16(2). No citizen shall, on grounds only of  religion,  race,  caste,
      sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be  ineligible
      for, or discriminated against in respect or, any employment or  office
      under the State.”

      Article 16 not only prohibits discrimination on the ground of sex  in
public employment, but also imposes a duty on the State to ensure that  all
citizens  are  treated  equally  in  matters  relating  to  employment  and
appointment by the State.

59.   Articles 15 and 16 sought to prohibit discrimination on the basis  of
sex, recognizing that sex discrimination is a historical fact and needs  to
be addressed.  Constitution makers, it can be gathered,  gave  emphasis  to
the fundamental right against sex  discrimination  so  as  to  prevent  the
direct or indirect attitude to treat people differently, for the reason  of
not being  in  conformity  with  stereotypical  generalizations  of  binary
genders.    Both  gender  and  biological  attributes  constitute  distinct
components  of  sex.   Biological  characteristics,  of   course,   include
genitals, chromosomes and secondary sexual features, but gender  attributes
include one’s self image, the deep  psychological  or  emotional  sense  of
sexual identity and character. The discrimination on the  ground  of  ‘sex’
under Articles 15 and 16, therefore, includes discrimination on the  ground
of gender identity.  The expression ‘sex’ used in Articles 15 and 16 is not
just limited to biological sex of male or female, but intended  to  include
people who consider themselves to be neither male or female.

60.   TGs have been systematically denied the rights  under  Article  15(2)
that is not to be subjected to any disability,  liability,  restriction  or
condition in regard to access to public places.  TGs  have  also  not  been
afforded  special  provisions  envisaged  under  Article  15(4)   for   the
advancement of the socially and educationally backward  classes  (SEBC)  of
citizens, which they are, and hence legally entitled and  eligible  to  get
the benefits of SEBC.   State is bound to take some affirmative action  for
their advancement so that the injustice done to them for centuries could be
remedied.  TGs are also entitled to enjoy economic,  social,  cultural  and
political rights without discrimination, because forms of discrimination on
the ground of gender  are  violative  of  fundamental  freedoms  and  human
rights.   TGs  have  also  been  denied  rights  under  Article  16(2)  and
discriminated against in respect of employment or office under the State on
the ground of sex.  TGs are also entitled to reservation in the  matter  of
appointment, as envisaged under Article 16(4) of the Constitution.    State
is bound to take affirmative action to  give  them  due  representation  in
public services.

61.   Articles 15(2) to (4) and  Article  16(4)  read  with  the  Directive
Principles of State Policy and various international instruments  to  which
Indian is a party, call for social equality, which the TGs  could  realize,
only if facilities and opportunities are extended to them so that they  can
also live with dignity and equal status with other genders.

ARTICLE 19(1)(a) AND TRANSGENDERS

62.   Article 19(1) of  the  Constitution  guarantees  certain  fundamental
rights, subject to the power of  the  State  to  impose  restrictions  from
exercise of those rights.  The rights  conferred  by  Article  19  are  not
available to any person who is not  a  citizen  of  India.   Article  19(1)
guarantees those great basic rights which are recognized and guaranteed  as
the natural rights inherent in the status of the citizen of a free country.
 Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution states that all citizens shall  have
the right to freedom of speech and expression, which includes  one’s  right
to expression of his self-identified gender.  Self-identified gender can be
expressed through dress, words, action or behavior or any other form.    No
restriction can be  placed  on  one’s  personal  appearance  or  choice  of
dressing, subject to the restrictions contained in  Article  19(2)  of  the
Constitution.

63.   We may, in this connection, refer to few judgments of the US  Supreme
Courts on the rights of TG’s freedom of expression.  The Supreme  Court  of
the State of Illinois in the City of Chicago v. Wilson et  al.,  75  III.2d
525(1978) struck down the municipal  law  prohibiting  cross-dressing,  and
held as follows “-
      “the notion that the State can  regulate  one’s  personal  appearance,
      unconfined   by   any   constitutional   strictures   whatsoever,   is
      fundamentally inconsistent with  “values  of  privacy,  self-identity,
      autonomy  and  personal  integrity  that  …..   the  Constitution  was
      designed to protect.”


64.   In Doe v. Yunits et al., 2000 WL33162199 (Mass. Super.), the Superior
Court of Massachusetts, upheld the right of a person to wear  school  dress
that matches her gender identity as part of protected speech and expression
and observed as follows :-
      “by dressing in clothing and accessories traditionally associated with
      the female gender, she  is  expressing  her  identification  with  the
      gender.  In addition, plaintiff’s ability to express herself  and  her
      gender identity through dress is important for her  health  and  well-
      being.  Therefore, plaintiff’s expression is  not  merely  a  personal
      preference but a necessary symbol of her identity.”


65.   Principles referred to above clearly  indicate  that  the  freedom  of
expression  guaranteed  under  Article  19(1)(a)  includes  the  freedom  to
express one’s chosen gender identity through varied ways and  means  by  way
of expression, speech, mannerism, clothing etc.

66.   Gender identity, therefore,  lies  at  the  core  of  one’s  personal
identity, gender expression and presentation and, therefore, it  will  have
to be protected under Article 19(1)(a) of the  Constitution  of  India.   A
transgender’s personality could be expressed by the transgender’s  behavior
and presentation.  State cannot prohibit,  restrict  or  interfere  with  a
transgender’s expression of such personality, which reflects that  inherent
personality.   Often the State and its authorities either due to  ignorance
or otherwise fail to digest the  innate  character  and  identity  of  such
persons.  We,  therefore,  hold  that  values  of  privacy,  self-identity,
autonomy and  personal  integrity  are  fundamental  rights  guaranteed  to
members  of  the  transgender  community  under  Article  19(1)(a)  of  the
Constitution of India and the State is bound to protect and recognize those
rights.

ARTICLE 21 AND THE TRANSGENDERS

67.   Article 21 of the Constitution of India reads as follows:
      “21.     Protection of life and personal liberty – No person shall  be
      deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure
      established by law.”

      Article 21 is the heart and soul of  the  Indian  Constitution,  which
speaks of the rights to life and personal liberty.   Right to  life  is  one
of the basic fundamental rights and not even the State has the authority  to
violate or take away that right.  Article 21  takes  all  those  aspects  of
life which go to make a person’s life meaningful.  Article 21  protects  the
dignity of human life, one’s personal  autonomy,  one’s  right  to  privacy,
etc.  Right to dignity has been recognized to be an essential  part  of  the
right to life and accrues to all persons on account of  being  humans.    In
Francis Coralie Mullin v. Administrator, Union Territory of Delhi  (1981)  1
SCC 608 (paras 7 and 8), this Court held that the right to dignity forms  an
essential part of our constitutional culture which seeks to ensure the  full
development and evolution of persons and  includes  “expressing  oneself  in
diverse forms, freely moving about and mixing  and  comingling  with  fellow
human beings”.

68.   Recognition of  one’s  gender  identity  lies  at  the  heart  of  the
fundamental right to dignity.  Gender,  as  already  indicated,  constitutes
the core of one’s sense of being as well as an integral part of  a  person’s
identity.  Legal recognition of  gender  identity  is,  therefore,  part  of
right to dignity and freedom guaranteed under our Constitution.


69.   Article  21,  as  already  indicated,  guarantees  the  protection  of
“personal autonomy” of an individual.   In Anuj Garg  v.  Hotel  Association
of India (2008) 3 SCC 1 (paragraphs 34-35), this Court  held  that  personal
autonomy  includes  both  the  negative  right  of  not  to  be  subject  to
interference by others  and  the  positive  right  of  individuals  to  make
decisions about their life,  to  express  themselves  and  to  choose  which
activities to take part in.  Self-determination of  gender  is  an  integral
part of personal autonomy and self-expression and falls within the realm  of
personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution  of  India.


LEGAL RECOGNITION OF THIRD/TRANSGENDER IDENTITY


70.   Self-identified gender can  be  either  male  or  female  or  a  third
gender.  Hijras are identified as  persons  of  third  gender  and  are  not
identified  either  as  male  or  female.   Gender  identity,   as   already
indicated, refers to a person’s internal sense of being male,  female  or  a
transgender, for example Hijras do not identify as female because  of  their
lack  of  female  genitalia  or  lack  of  reproductive  capability.    This
distinction makes them separate from both male and female genders  and  they
consider themselves neither man nor woman, but a  “third  gender”.   Hijras,
therefore, belong to a  distinct  socio-religious  and  cultural  group  and
have, therefore, to be considered as a “third gender”, apart from  male  and
female. State of Punjab has treated all TGs as male  which  is  not  legally
sustainable.  State of Tamil Nadu has  taken  lot  of  welfare  measures  to
safeguard the rights of TGs, which we have to acknowledge.  Few States  like
Kerala, Tripura, Bihar have referred TGs as “third gender or sex”.   Certain
States recognize them as “third category”.   Few  benefits  have  also  been
extended by certain other  States.  Our  neighbouring  countries  have  also
upheld their fundamental rights and right to live with dignity.


71.   The Supreme Court of  Nepal  in  Sunil  Babu  Pant  &  Ors.  v.  Nepal
Government (Writ Petition No.917 of 2007 decided on  21st  December,  2007),
spoke on the rights of Transgenders as follows:-

      “the fundamental rights comprised under Part II  of  the  Constitution
      are enforceable fundamental human rights guaranteed  to  the  citizens
      against the State.  For this reason, the fundamental rights stipulated
      in Part III are the rights similarly vested in the third gender people
      as human beings. The homosexuals and  third  gender  people  are  also
      human beings as other men and women are, and they are the citizens  of
      this country as well….  Thus, the people other than ‘men’ and ‘women’,
      including the people of ‘third gender’ cannot  be  discriminated.  The
      State should recognize the existence of all natural persons  including
      the people of third gender other than the  men  and  women.    And  it
      cannot  deprive  the  people  of  third  gender  from   enjoying   the
      fundamental rights provided by Part III of the Constitution.”



72.   The Supreme Court of Pakistan in Dr. Mohammad Aslam Khaki  &  Anr.  V.
Senior Superintendent of Police (Operation) Rawalpindi & Ors.  (Constitution
Petition No.43 of 2009)  decided  on  22nd  March,  2011,  had  occasion  to
consider the rights of eunuchs and held as follows:-

      “Needless to observe that eunuchs in their rights are citizens of this
      country and subject to the Constitution of  the  Islamic  Republic  of
      Pakistan, 1973, their rights, obligations including right to life  and
      dignity are equally  protected.    Thus  no  discrimination,  for  any
      reason,  is  possible  against  them  as  far  as  their  rights   and
      obligations are  concerned.   The  Government  functionaries  both  at
      federal and provincial levels are bound to provide them protection  of
      life and property and secure their dignity as well, as is done in case
      of other citizens.”


73.   We may remind ourselves of  the  historical  presence  of  the  third
gender in this country as well as in the neighbouring countries.

74.   Article 21, as already  indicated,  protects  one’s  right  of  self-
determination of the gender to which a person  belongs.   Determination  of
gender to which a person belongs is to be decided by the person  concerned.
In other words, gender identity is integral to the dignity of an individual
and is  at  the  core  of  “personal  autonomy”  and  “self-determination”.
Hijras/Eunuchs, therefore, have to be considered as Third Gender, over  and
above binary genders under our Constitution and the laws.


75.   Articles 14, 15, 16, 19 and 21, above discussion, would indicate,  do
not exclude Hijras/Transgenders from its ambit, but Indian law on the whole
recognize the paradigm of binary genders of male and female, based on one’s
biological sex.   As  already  indicated,  we  cannot  accept  the  Corbett
principle of “Biological Test”, rather we prefer to follow  the  psyche  of
the person in determining sex and  gender  and  prefer  the  “Psychological
Test” instead of “Biological Test”.  Binary notion of  gender  reflects  in
the Indian Penal Code, for example, Section 8, 10, etc.  and  also  in  the
laws related to marriage, adoption, divorce,  inheritance,  succession  and
other welfare legislations like NAREGA, 2005, etc.  Non-recognition of  the
identity of Hijras/Transgenders in the  various  legislations  denies  them
equal protection of law and they face wide-spread discrimination.



76.   Article 14 has used the expression “person” and the  Article  15  has
used the expression “citizen” and “sex” so also Article 16.  Article 19 has
also used the expression “citizen”.  Article 21  has  used  the  expression
“person”.   All these expressions, which  are  “gender  neutral”  evidently
refer   to   human-beings.    Hence,   they   take   within   their   sweep
Hijras/Transgenders and are not as such limited to male or  female  gender.
Gender identity as already indicated forms the core of one’s personal self,
based on self identification, not on surgical or medical procedure.  Gender
identity, in our view, is an integral part of sex and  no  citizen  can  be
discriminated on  the  ground  of  gender  identity,  including  those  who
identify as third gender.

77.   We, therefore, conclude that discrimination on the  basis  of  sexual
orientation or gender  identity  includes  any  discrimination,  exclusion,
restriction  or  preference,  which  has  the  effect  of   nullifying   or
transposing equality by the law or the equal protection of laws  guaranteed
under  our  Constitution,  and  hence  we  are  inclined  to  give  various
directions to safeguard the constitutional rights of the members of the  TG
community.



                                                              ..………………………..J
                                                        (K.S. Radhakrishnan)


A.K. SIKRI,J.

78.   I  have  carefully,  and  with  lot  of  interest,  gone  through  the
perspicuous opinion  of  my  brother  Radhakrishnan,J.   I  am  entirely  in
agreement with the discussion contained in the  said  judgment  on  all  the
cardinal issues that have arisen for consideration in these proceedings.  At
the same time, having regard to the fact that the  issues  involved  are  of
seminal importance, I am also inclined to pen down my thoughts.

79.         As is clear, these  petitions  essentially  raise  an  issue  of
“Gender Identity”, which is the core issue. It has two facets, viz.:
      “(a)  Whether a person who is  born  as  a  male   with  predominantly
      female orientation (or vice-versa),  has a right to get himself to  be
      recognized as a female as per his choice moreso, when  such  a  person
      after having undergone operational procedure, changes his/her  sex  as
      well;
      (b) Whether transgender (TG), who are neither males nor females,  have
      a right to be identified and categorized as a “third gender”?


80.   We would hasten to add that it is the second issue with which  we  are
primarily concerned in these petitions though in the process of  discussion,
first issue which is somewhat inter-related, has also popped up.

81.   Indubitably, the issue of  choice  of  gender  identify  has  all  the
trappings of a human rights. That  apart,  as  it  becomes  clear  from  the
reading of the judgment of my esteemed Brother Radhakrishnan,J.,  the  issue
is not limited to the exercise of choice of gender/sex.  Many  rights  which
flow from this choice also  come into play, inasmuch  not  giving  them  the
status of a third gender results in depriving the community of TGs  of  many
of their valuable  rights  and  privileges  which  other  persons  enjoy  as
citizens of this Country. There is also deprivation of social  and  cultural
participation which results into eclipsing their  access  to  education  and
health  services.  Radhakrishnan,J.  has  exhaustively  described  the  term
‘Transgender’ as an umbrella term which embraces within itself a wide  range
of  identities  and  experiences  including  but   not   limited   to   pre-
operative/post-operative trans sexual people who strongly identify with  the
gender opposite to their biological sex i.e.  male/  female.   Therein,  the
history of transgenders in India is also traced and while  doing  so,  there
is mention of upon the draconian  legislation  enacted  during  the  British
Rule, known as Criminal  Tribes Act, 1871 which treated, per se, the  entire
community of  Hizra  persons  as  innately  ‘criminals’,  ‘addicted  to  the
systematic commission of non-bailable offences’.

82.   With these introductory  remarks,  I  revert  to  the  two  facets  of
pivotal importance mentioned above. Before embarking on  the  discussion,  I
may clarify that  my  endeavour  would  be  not  to  repeat  the  discussion
contained in the judgment of my Brother Radhakrishnan, J., as I  agree  with
every word written therein. However, at times, if some of  the  observations
are re-narrated, that would be only with a view to bring continuity  in  the
thought process.
      (1)   Re: Right of a person to have the gender of his/her choice.
      When a child is born, at the time of birth itself, sex is assigned  to
him/her. A child would be treated with that sex thereafter,  i.e.  either  a
male or a female. However,  as  explained  in  detail  in  the  accompanying
judgment, some persons, though relatively very small  in  number,  may  born
with bodies which incorporate both  or  certain  aspects  of  both  male  or
female physiology. It may also happen that though a  person  is  born  as  a
male, because of some genital anatomy problems his innate perception may  be
that of a female and all his actions would be female oriented. The  position
may be exactly the opposite wherein a person born as female may behave  like
a male person.

83.   In earlier times though one could  observe  such  characteristics,  at
the same time the underlying rationale or reason behind such a behavior  was
not known. Over a period of time, with in depth study and research  of  such
physical and psychological factors bevaviour, the causes of  this  behaviour
have become discernable which in turn, has led to some changes  in  societal
norms. Society has starting accepting, though slowly,  these  have  accepted
the behavioral norms of  such  persons  without  treating  it  as  abnormal.
Further, medical science has leaped forward to  such  an  extent  that  even
physiology  appearance  of  a  person  can  be  changed   through   surgical
procedures, from male to female and vice-versa. In this way,  such   persons
are able to acquire the body which is in conformity with the  perception  of
their gender/gender characteristics.  In  order  to  ensure  that  law  also
keeps  pace  with  the  aforesaid  progress  in  medical  science,   various
countries have come out with Legislation conferring rights on  such  persons
to recognize their gender identity based on reassigned sex after  undergoing
Sex Re-Assignment Surgery (SRS). Law and judgments given by  the  courts  in
other countries have been exhaustively and grandiloquently traversed  by  my
learned Brother in his judgment, discussing amongst others,  the  Yogyakarta
principles, the relevant provisions of the Universal  Declaration  of  Human
Rights 1948 and highlighting the  statutory  framework  operating  in  those
countries.

84.   The genesis of this recognition lies in the acknowledgment of  another
fundamental and universal principal viz.  “right  of  choice”  given  to  an
individual which is the inseparable part of human rights.  It  is  a  matter
of historical significance that the 20th Century is often described as  “the
age of rights”.

85.   The most important lesson which was  learnt  as  a  result  of  Second
World War was the realization by the Governments of various countries  about
the human dignity which needed to be cherished  and  protected.  It  is  for
this reason that in the U.N.Charter, 1945,  adopted  immediately  after  the
Second World War, dignity of  the  individuals  was  mentioned  as  of  core
value. The almost contemporaneous  Universal  Declaration  of  Human  Rights
(1948) echoed same sentiments.

86.    The  underlined  message  in   the   aforesaid   documents   is   the
acknowledgment that human rights are individual and have a definite  linkage
of human development, both sharing common vision and with a common  purpose.
Respect for human rights is the root for human development  and  realization
of  full  potential  of  each  individual,  which  in  turn  leads  to   the
augmentation of human resources with progress of the nation. Empowerment  of
the people through human development is the aim of human rights.

87.   There is thus a universal recognition that  human  rights  are  rights
that “belong” to every person, and do not depend on  the  specifics  of  the
individual or the relationship  between  the  right-holder  and  the  right-
grantor. Moreover, human rights exist irrespective of the  question  whether
they are granted or recognized by the legal and social system  within  which
we live. They are devices to evaluate these existing arrangements:  ideally,
these arrangements should not violate human rights. In  other  words,  human
rights are moral, pre-legal rights. They are not granted by people  nor  can
they be taken away by them.

88.   In  international  human  rights  law,  equality  is  found  upon  two
complementary     principles:     non-discrimination     and      reasonable
differentiation. The principle of non-discrimination seeks  to  ensure  that
all persons can equally enjoy and exercise all their  rights  and  freedoms.
Discrimination occurs due to arbitrary denial  of  opportunities  for  equal
participation. For example, when public facilities and services are  set  on
standards out of the reach of the TGs, it leads to exclusion and  denial  of
rights. Equality not only implies preventing  discrimination  (example,  the
protection of individuals  against  unfavourable  treatment  by  introducing
anti- discrimination laws), but  goes  beyond  in  remedying  discrimination
against groups suffering systematic discrimination in society.  In  concrete
terms, it means embracing the notion of positive rights, affirmative  action
and reasonable accommodation.

89.   Nevertheless, the Universal Declaration  of  Human  Rights  recognizes
that all human beings are born free and equal in  dignity  and  rights  and,
since the Covenant’s provisions apply  fully  to  all  members  of  society,
persons with disabilities are clearly entitled to the full range  of  rights
recognized in the Covenant. Moreover, the requirement contained  in  Article
2 of the Covenant that the  rights  enunciated  will  be  exercised  without
discrimination of any kind based  on  certain  specified  grounds  or  other
status clearly applies to cover persons with disabilities.

90.   India attained independence  within  two  years  of  adoption  of  the
aforesaid U.N.Charter and it was but natural that  such  a  Bill  of  Rights
would assume prime importance insofar as thinking  of  the  members  of  the
Constituent  Assembly  goes.  It  in  fact  did  and  we  found  chapter  on
fundamental rights in Part-III of the Constitution. It is not necessary  for
me, keeping in view the topic of today’s discussion, to embark  on  detailed
discussion on Chapter-III. Some of the provisions relevant for our  purposes
would be Article 14, 15,16 and 21 of the  Constitution  which  have  already
been adverted to in detail in the accompanying judgment.  At  this  juncture
it also needs to be emphasized simultaneously is that  in  addition  to  the
fundamental rights, Constitution makers also  deemed  it  proper  to  impose
certain obligations on the State in the form  of  “Directive  Principles  of
State Policy” (Part-IV) as a mark of good governance. It is this part  which
provides an ideal and purpose to our  Constitution  and  delineates  certain
principles  which  are  fundamental  in  the  governance  of  the   country.
Dr.Ambedkar had explained the purpose of these Directive Principles  in  the
following manner (See Constituent Assembly debates):
                  “The Directive Principles  are  like  the  Instruments  of
           Instructions which were issued to the  Governor-General  and  the
           Governors of Colonies, and to  those  of  India  by  the  British
           Government under the 1935 Government of India Act. What is called
           “Directive Principles” is merely another name for the  Instrument
           of  Instructions.  The  only  difference   is   that   they   are
           instructions  to  the  legislature  and  the  executive.  Whoever
           capture power will not be free to do what he likes  with  it.  In
           the exercise of it he will have to respect these  instruments  of
           instructions which are called Directive Principles”.




 91.  The basic spirit of our Constitution is  to  provide  each  and  every
 person  of  the  nation  equal  opportunity  to  grow  as  a  human  being,
 irrespective  of  race,  caste,  religion,  community  and  social  status.
 Granville Austin while analyzing the functioning of Indian Constitution  in
 first  50  years  ha  described  three  distinguished  strands  of   Indian
 Constitution: (i)protecting national unity and integrity,  (ii)establishing
 the institution  and  spirit  of  democracy;  and  (iii)  fostering  social
 reforms. The Strands are mutually dependent, and  inextricably  intertwined
 in what he elegantly describes as “a seamless web”.  And  there  cannot  be
 social reforms till it is ensured that  each  and  every  citizen  of  this
 country  is  able  to  exploit  his/her  potentials  to  the  maximum.  The
 Constitution, although drafted by the Constituent Assembly, was  meant  for
 the people of India and that is why it is given by the people to themselves
 as expressed in the opening  words  “We  the  People”.  What  is  the  most
 important  gift  to  the  common  person  given  by  this  Constitution  is
 “fundamental rights” which may be called Human Rights as well.


92.  The concept of equality in Article 14 so also the meaning of the  words
 ‘life’, ‘liberty’ and ‘law’ in Article 21 have been  considerably  enlarged
 by judicial decisions. Anything which is not ‘reasonable, just and fair’ is
 not treated to be equal and is, therefore, violative of Article 14.


 93.   Speaking for  the  vision  of  our  founding  fathers,  in  State  of
 Karnataka v. Rangnatha Reddy (AIR 1978 SC 215), this Court speaking through
 Justice Krishna Iyer observed:
                     “The  social  philosophy  of  the  Constitution  shapes
           creative judicial vision and orientation.  Our  nation  has,  as
           its dynamic doctrine, economic democracy  sans  which  political
           democracy is chimerical. We say so because our Constitution,  in
           Parts III and IV and elsewhere, ensouls such a value system, and
           the debate in this case puts precisely this soul  in  peril….Our
           thesis is that the dialectics of social justice  should  not  be
           missed if the synthesis of Parts III and Part IV is to influence
           State action and court pronouncements.  Constitutional  problems
           cannot be studied  in  a  socio-economic  vacuum,  since  socio-
           cultural changes are the source of the new values, and sloughing
           off old legal thought is part of the  process  the  new  equity-
           loaded legality. A judge is a social scientist in  his  role  as
           constitutional invigilator and fails functionally if he  forgets
           this dimension in his complex duties.”

94.   While interpreting Art. 21, this Court has comprehended  such  diverse
aspects as children in jail entitled to special treatment (Sheela Barse  vs.
Union of India [(1986)3 SCC 596], health  hazard  due  to  pollution  (Mehta
M.C. v. Union of India [(1987) 4  SCC  463],  beggars  interest  in  housing
(Kalidas Vs. State of J&K [(1987) 3 SCC  430]  health  hazard  from  harmful
drugs (Vincent Panikurlangara Vs. Union of India AIR 1987 SC 990), right  of
speedy trial  (Reghubir  Singh  Vs.  State  of  Bihar,  AIR  1987  SC  149),
handcuffing of prisoners(Aeltemesh Rein Vs. Union  of  India,  AIR  1988  SC
1768), delay in execution  of  death  sentence,  immediate  medical  aid  to
injured persons(Parmanand Katara Vs. Union of  India,  AIR  1989  SC  2039),
starvation deaths(Kishen Vs. State of Orissa, AIR 1989 SC  677),  the  right
to know(Reliance Petrochemicals Ltd. Vs. Indian  Express  Newspapers  Bombay
Pvt. Ltd. AIR 1989 SC 190),  right  to  open  trial(Kehar  Singh  Vs.  State
(Delhi  Admn.)  AIR  1988  SC  1883),  inhuman  conditions   an   after-care
home(Vikram Deo Singh Tomar Vs. State of Bihar, AIR 1988 SC 1782).

95.   A most remarkable feature of this expansion of Art.21 is that many  of
the  non-justiciable  Directive  Principles  embodied  in  Part  IV  of  the
Constitution have now been resurrected as enforceable fundamental rights  by
the magic wand of judicial activism, playing on Art.21 e.g.
      (a) Right to pollution-free water and air (Subhash Kumar Vs. State  of
Bihar, AIR 1991 SC 420).
      (b) Right to a reasonable residence (Shantistar Builders  Vs.  Narayan
Khimalal Totame AIR 1990 SC 630).
      (c) Right to  food  (Supra  note  14),  clothing,  decent  environment
(supra note 20)  and  even  protection  of  cultural  heritage  (Ram  Sharan
Autyanuprasi Vs. UOI, AIR 1989 SC 549) .
      (d) Right of every child to a full  development  (Shantistar  Builders
Vs. Narayan Khimalal Totame AIR 1990 SC 630).
      (e) Right of residents of hilly-areas  to  access  to  roads(State  of
H.P. Vs. Umed Ram Sharma, AIR 1986 SC 847).
      (f) Right to education (Mohini Jain Vs. State of Karnataka,  AIR  1992
SC 1858), but not for a professional degree (Unni Krishnan  J.P.  Vs.  State
of A.P., AIR 1993 SC 2178).

96.   A corollary of this development is that while  so  long  the  negative
language of Art.21 and use of the word ‘deprived’  was  supposed  to  impose
upon the State the negative duty not to interfere with the life  or  liberty
of an individual without the sanction of law,  the width  and  amplitude  of
this  provision   has   now   imposed   a   positive   obligation   (Vincent
Panikurlangara Vs. UOI AIR 1987 SC 990) upon the State  to  take  steps  for
ensuring to the individual a better enjoyment of his life and dignity,  e.g.

       (i)  Maintenance  and   improvement   of   public   health   (Vincent
Panikurlangara Vs. UOI AIR 1987 SC 990).
      (ii) Elimination of water  and  air  pollution  (Mehta  M.C.  Vs.  UOI
(1987) 4 SCC 463).
      (iii) Improvement of means of communication (State of  H.P.  Vs.  Umed
Ram Sharma AIR 1986 SC 847).
      (iv) Rehabilitation of bonded labourers  (Bandhuva  Mukti  Morcha  Vs.
UOI, AIR 1984 SC 802).
      (v) Providing human conditions if prisons (Sher  Singh  Vs.  State  of
Punjab AIR 1983 SC 465) and  protective homes (Sheela Barse Vs.  UOI  (1986)
3 SCC 596).
      (vi)  Providing  hygienic  condition  in  a  slaughter-house  (Buffalo
Traders Welfare Ass. Vs. Maneka Gandhi (1994) Suppl (3) SCC 448) .

97.    The  common  golden   thread   which   passes   through   all   these
pronouncements is that Art.21 guarantees enjoyment of life by  all  citizens
of this country with dignity, viewing this human rights in  terms  of  human
development.

98.   The concepts of justice social, economic and  political,  equality  of
status and  of  opportunity  and  of  assuring  dignity  of  the  individual
incorporated in the Preamble, clearly recognize  the right of  one  and  all
amongst the citizens of  these  basic  essentials  designed  to  flower  the
citizen’s personality to its fullest. The  concept  of  equality  helps  the
citizens in reaching their highest potential.

99.   Thus, the emphasis is on the  development  of  an  individual  in  all
respects. The basic principle of the dignity and freedom of  the  individual
is common to all nations,  particularly  those  having  democratic  set  up.
Democracy requires us to respect and develop the free spirit of human  being
which is responsible for all progress in human history. Democracy is also  a
method by which we attempt to raise the living standard of  the  people  and
to give opportunities to every person to develop his/her personality. It  is
founded on peaceful co-existence and cooperative  living.  If  democracy  is
based on the recognition of the individuality  and  dignity  of  man,  as  a
fortiori we have to recognize the right of  a  human  being  to  choose  his
sex/gender identity which is integral his/her personality and is one of  the
most basic aspect of self-determination dignity and freedom. In fact,  there
is a growing recognition that the true measure of development  of  a  nation
is not economic growth; it is human dignity.

100.    More than 225 years ago, Immanuel Kant propounded  the  doctrine  of
free will, namely the free  willing  individual  as  a  natural  law  ideal.
Without going into the detail analysis of his aforesaid  theory  of  justice
(as we are not concerned with the analysis of  his  jurisprudence)  what  we
want to point out is his emphasis on the “freedom” of human  volition.   The
concepts of volition  and  freedom  are  “pure”,  that  is  not  drawn  from
experience. They are independent of any particular body of  moral  or  legal
rules. They are presuppositions of all such rules, valid and  necessary  for
all of them.

101.    Over a period of time, two divergent interpretations of the  Kantian
criterion of justice came to be discussed.   One  trend  was  an  increasing
stress on the maximum of individual freedom of action as  the  end  of  law.
This may not be accepted and was criticized by the protagonist of  ‘hedonist
utilitarianism’, notably Benthem. This school of thoughts laid  emphasis  on
the welfare of the society rather than  an  individual  by  propounding  the
principle of maximum of happiness to most of  the  people.  Fortunately,  in
the instant case,  there  is  no  such  dichotomy  between  the   individual
freedom/liberty we are discussing, as against public good. On the  contrary,
granting the right to  choose  gender  leads  to  public  good.  The  second
tendency of Kantian  criterion  of  justice  was  found  in  re-interpreting
“freedom” in terms not merely of  absence  of  restraint  but  in  terms  of
attainment of individual perfection. It is this latter trend with  which  we
are concerned in the present  case  and  this  holds  good  even  today.  As
pointed out above, after the Second World War, in the  form  of  U.N.Charter
and thereafter there is  more  emphasis  on  the  attainment  of  individual
perfection. In that united sense at least there is a revival of natural  law
theory of justice. Blackstone, in the  opening  pages  in  his    ‘Vattelian
Fashion’ said that the principal aim of society “is to  protect  individuals
in the enjoyment of those absolute rights which were vested in them  by  the
immutable laws of nature……”

102.  In fact, the recognition that every individual has  fundamental  right
to achieve the fullest potential, is  founded  on  the  principle  that  all
round growth of an individual leads to common public good. After all,  human
beings are also valuable asset of any country who contribute to  the  growth
and welfare of their nation and the society. A person who  is  born  with  a
particular sex and his forced to grow up identifying with that sex, and  not
a  sex  that  his/her  psychological   behavior   identifies   with,   faces
innumerable obstacles in growing up. In an article appeared in the  magazine
“Eye” of the Sunday Indian Express (March 9-15, 2014) a  person  born  as  a
boy but with trappings of female ( who  is  now  a  female  after  SRS)  has
narrated     these     difficulties     in     the     following     manner:

            “The other children treated me as a boy, but I preferred playing
           with girls. Unfortunately, grown-ups consider that okay  only  as
           long as you are a small child. The constant inner  conflict  made
           things difficult for me and, as I  grew  up,  I  began  to  dread
           social interactions”.



103.    Such a person, carrying dual entity simultaneously, would  encounter
mental and psychological difficulties  which  would  hinder  his/her  normal
mental and even physical growth. It is not even easy for such  a  person  to
take a decision to undergo SRS procedure which requires strong mental  state
of affairs. However, once that is decided and the sex  is  changed  in  tune
with psychological behavior, it  facilitates  spending  the  life  smoothly.
Even the process of transition is not smooth.       The  transition  from  a
man to a woman is not  an  overnight  process.  It  is  a  “painfully”  long
procedure that requires a lot of  patience.  A  person  must  first  undergo
hormone therapy and, if possible, live as a member of the desired sex for  a
while. To be eligible for hormone therapy, the person  needs  at  least  two
psychiatrists  to  certify  that  he  or  she   is   mentally   sound,   and
schizophrenia, depression and transvestism have to be ruled out  first.  The
psychiatric evaluation involved a serious a questions on how  Sunaina  felt,
when she got to know of her confusion and need for sex change,  whether  she
is a recluse, her socio-economic condition, among other things.

104.     In the same article appearing in the “Eye”  referred to above,  the
person who had undergone the operation and became a complete  girl,  Sunaina
(name changed) narrates the benefit which ensued because of change  in  sex,
in harmony with her emotional and psychological character, as is clear  from
the following passage in that article:
            “Like many other single people in the city, she can spend  hours
          watching Friends, and reading thrillers and Harry Potter.    A new
          happiness has taken seed in her and she says it does not feel that
          she ever had a male body. “I am a person who likes to laugh.  Till
          my surgery, behind every smile of mine, there was a struggle.  Now
          it’s about time that I laughed  for  real.  I  have  never  had  a
          relationship in my life, because somewhere, I always wanted to  be
          treated as a girl.   Now, that I am a woman, I am open  to  a  new
          life, new relationships. I don’t have to  hide  anymore,  I  don’t
          feel trapped anymore. I love coding and my job. I love cooking.  I
          am learning French and when my left foot recovers fully, I plan to
          learn dancing. And, for the first time this year, I will vote with
          my new name. I am looking forward to that,” she says.



105.     If a person has changed his/her sex in  tune  with  his/her  gender
characteristics and perception ,which has become  possible  because  of  the
advancement in medical science, and when that is  permitted  by  in  medical
ethics with no legal embargo, we  do  not  find  any  impediment,  legal  or
otherwise, in giving due recognition to the gender  identity  based  on  the
reassign sex after undergoing SRS.
106.    For these reasons, we are of the opinion that even  in  the  absence
of any statutory regime in this  country,  a  person  has  a  constitutional
right to get the recognition as male or female  after  SRS,  which  was  not
only his/her gender characteristic but has become his/her physical  form  as
well.
      (2) Re: Right of  TG  to  be  identified  and  categorized  as  “third
gender”.

107.    At the outset, it may be clarified that the  term  ‘transgender’  is
used in a wider sense, in the present age.  Even Gay, Lesbian, bisexual  are
included  by  the  descriptor  ‘transgender’.   Etymologically,   the   term
‘transgender’ is derived  from  two  words,  namely  ‘trans’  and  ‘gender’.
Former is a Latin word which means ‘across’  or  ‘beyond’.  The  grammatical
meaning of ‘transgender’, therefore, is across or beyond  gender.  This  has
come to be  known  as  umbrella  term  which  includes  Gay  men,  Lesbians,
bisexuals, and cross dressers within its scope. However, while dealing  with
the present issue we are not concerned with this aforesaid wider meaning  of
the expression transgender.

108.    It is to be  emphasized  that  Transgender  in  India  have  assumed
distinct and separate class/category which is not prevalent in  other  parts
of the World except in some neighbouring countries .  In  this  country,  TG
community comprise of  Hijaras, enunch, Kothis,  Aravanis,  Jogappas,  Shiv-
Shakthis etc.  In Indian community transgender are referred as Hizra or  the
third gendered  people.  There  exists  wide  range  of  transgender-related
identities, cultures, or experience  –including  Hijras,  Aravanis,  Kothis,
jogtas/Jogappas, and Shiv-Shakthis (Hijras: They are  biological  males  who
reject their masculinity identity in due course of time to  identify  either
as women,  or  ‘not  men’.  Aravanis:  Hijras  in  Tamil  Nadu  identify  as
‘Aravani’. Kothi: Kothis are heterogeneous group. Kothis  can  be  described
as   biological   males   who   show   varying   degrees   of    ‘feminity’.
Jogtas/Jogappas: They are those who are dedicated to  serve  as  servant  of
Goddess  Renukha  Devi  whose  temples  are  present  in   Maharashtra   and
Karnataka. Sometimes, Jogti Hijras are used to  denote  such  male-to-female
transgender persons who are devotees of Goddess Renukha and  are  also  from
the Hijra community. Shiv-Shakthis: They are considered  as  males  who  are
possessed by or particularly close  to  a  goddess  and  who  have  feminine
gender expression). The way they behave and acts differs from the  normative
gender role of a men and women.  For  them,  furthering  life  is  far  more
difficult since such people are neither categorized as  men  nor  women  and
this deviation is unacceptable to  society’s  vast  majority.  Endeavour  to
live a life with dignity is even worse. Obviously transvestites,  the  hijra
beg from merchants who quickly, under threat of obscene  abuse,  respond  to
the silent demands of such detested  individuals.  On  occasion,  especially
festival days, they press their claims with boisterous  and  ribald  singing
and dancing.( A Right to Exist: Eunuchs and the State in  Nineteenth-Century
India Laurence W. Preston Modern Asian Studies, Vol.21,No.2 (1987),  pp.371-
387).

109.    Therefore, we make it clear at  the  outset  that  when  we  discuss
about the question of conferring distinct identity, we  are  restrictive  in
our meaning which has to be given  to  TG  community  i.e.  hijra  etc.,  as
explained above.

110.    Their historical background and individual scenario has been  stated
in detail in the accompanying judgment rendered by my learned  Brother.  Few
things which follow from this discussion are summed up below:
      “(a) Though in the past TG in India was treated  with  great  respect,
      that does not remain the  scenario  any  longer.  Attrition  in  their
      status was triggered with the passing of the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871
      which deemed the  entire  community  of  Hijara  persons  as  innately
      ‘criminal’ and ‘adapted to the systematic commission  of  non-bailable
      offences’. This dogmatism and indoctrination  of  Indian  people  with
      aforesaid presumption, was totally  capricious  and  nefarious.  There
      could not have been more  harm  caused  to  this  community  with  the
      passing of the aforesaid brutal Legislation during British Regime with
      the vicious and savage this mind set. To add insult to the irreparable
      injury caused, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code  was  misused  and
      abused as there was a tendency,  in  British  period,  to  arrest  and
      prosecute TG persons under Section 377 merely on suspicion. To undergo
      this sordid historical harm caused to TGs of India, there  is  a  need
      for incessant efforts with effervescence.


      (b) There may  have  been  marginal  improvement  in  the  social  and
      economic condition of TGs  in India. It is still far from satisfactory
      and these TGs continue to face different kinds  of  economic  blockade
      and social degradation. They still face multiple forms  of  oppression
      in this country. Discrimination qua them  is  clearly  discernable  in
      various fields including health care,  employment,  education,  social
      cohesion etc.


      (c) The TGs are also citizens of this country. They  also  have  equal
      right to achieve their  full  potential  as  human  beings.  For  this
      purpose, not only  they  are  entitled  to  proper  education,  social
      assimilation,  access  to  public  and  other  places  but  employment
      opportunities as well. The discussion above  while  dealing  with  the
      first issue,  therefore,  equally  applies  to  this  issue  as  well.


111.     We are of the firm opinion that by recognizing such  TGs  as  third
gender, they would be able to enjoy their human rights, to  which  they  are
largely deprived of for want of this recognition. As  mentioned  above,  the
issue of transgender is not merely a social or medical issue but there is  a
need to adopt human right approach towards transgenders which may  focus  on
functioning as  an  interaction  between  a  person  and  their  environment
highlighting the role of society and changing the stigma attached  to  them.
TGs face many disadvantages due to various reasons, particularly for  gender
abnormality which in certain level needs to physical and mental  disability.
Up  till  recently  they  were  subjected  to  cruelty,  pity  or   charity.
Fortunately, there is a  paradigm  shift  in  thinking  from  the  aforesaid
approach to a rights based approach. Though, this may  be  the  thinking  of
human rights activist, the society has not kept pace with this shift.  There
appears to be limited public knowledge and understanding of same-sex  sexual
orientation and people whose gender identity and expression are  incongruent
with their biological sex. As a result of this approach,  such  persons  are
socially excluded from the mainstream of the society  and  they  are  denied
equal access to those fundamental rights and freedoms that the other  people
enjoy freely.(See, Hijras/Transgender Women in India: HIV, Human Rights  and
Social  Exclusion,  UNDP   report   on   India   Issue:   December,   2010).



112.    Some of the  common  and  reported  problem  that  transgender  most
commonly suffer are: harassment by the police in public  places,  harassment
at home, police entrapment, rape, discriminations, abuse  in  public  places
et.al.  The other major problems that the transgender people face  in  their
daily life are discrimination,  lack  of  educational  facilities,  lack  of
medical facilities, homelessness,  unemployment,  depression,  hormone  pill
abuse, tobacco and alcohol abuse,  and  problems  related  to  marriage  and
adoption. In spite of the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human  Rights
(UDHR) in the year 1948, the inherent dignity, equality, respect and  rights
of all human beings throughout the world, the transgender are  denied  basic
human rights. This denial is premised on a  prevalent  juridical  assumption
that the law should target discrimination based  on  sex  (i.e.,  whether  a
person is  anatomically male or female), rather than gender  (i.e.,  whether
a  person  has  qualities  that  society  consider  masculine  or   feminine
(Katherine M.Franke, The Central Mistake  of  Sex  Discrimination  Law:  the
Disaggregation of Sex from Gender, 144 U.Pa.Rev.1,3 (1995) (arguing that  by
defining sex in biological terms, the law  has  failed  to  distinguish  sex
from  gender,  and  sexual   differentiation   from   sex   discrimination).
Transgender people are generally excluded from the society and people  think
transgenderism as a medical disease. Much  like  the  disability,  which  in
earlier times was considered as an illness but later on  looked  upon  as  a
right based approach. The question whether transgenderism is  a  disease  is
hotly debated in both the transgender and  medical-psychiatric  communities.
But a prevalent view regarding this is that transgenderism is not a  disease
at all, but a benign normal variant of the human experience  akin  to  left-
handedness.

113.    Therefore, gender identification becomes  very  essential  component
which is required for enjoying civil rights by this community.  It  is  only
with this recognition that many rights attached to  the  sexual  recognition
as ‘third gender’ would be available to  this  community  more  meaningfully
viz. the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to  marry,  the
right to claim a formal identity through a passport and  a  ration  card,  a
driver’s license, the right to education, employment, health so on.

114.    Further, there seems to be no  reason  why  a  transgender  must  be
denied of basic human rights which includes Right to life and  liberty  with
dignity, Right to Privacy and freedom of expression, Right to Education  and
Empowerment, Right against violence, Right against  Exploitation  and  Right
against Discrimination. Constitution has fulfilled  its  duty  of  providing
rights to transgenders.  Now it’s time for  us  to  recognize  this  and  to
extend and  interpret  the  Constitution  in  such  a  manner  to  ensure  a
dignified life of transgender people.  All  this  can  be  achieved  if  the
beginning is made with the recognition that TG as third gender.

115.    In order to translate the aforesaid rights of TGs into  reality,  it
becomes imperative to first assign them their proper  ‘sex’.  As  is  stated
earlier, at the time of birth of a child itself, sex is  assigned.  However,
it is either male or female. In the process, the society  as  well  as  law,
has completely ignored the basic human right  of  TGs  to  give  them  their
appropriate sex categorization. Up to now, they have either been treated  as
male or female. This is not only improper as  it  is  far  from  truth,  but
indignified to these   TGs and violates their human rights.

116.     Though there may not be any  statutory  regime  recognizing  ‘third
gender’ for these TGs. However, we find enough  justification  to  recognize
this right of theirs in natural law sphere. Further,  such  a  justification
can be traced to the  various  provisions  contained  in  Part  III  of  the
Constitution relating to ‘Fundamental Rights’. In addition to  the  powerful
justification accomplished  in  the  accompanying  opinion  of  my  esteemed
Brother,  additional  raison  d’etre   for   this   conclusion   is   stated
hereinafter.

117.    We are in the age of democracy, that  too  substantive  and  liberal
democracy. Such a democracy is not  based  solely  on  the  rule  of  people
through their representatives’ namely formal democracy. It  also  has  other
percepts  like  Rule  of  Law,  human  rights,  independence  of  judiciary,
separation of powers etc.

118.    There is a recognition to the hard realty  that  without  protection
for human rights  there  can  be  no  democracy  and  no  justification  for
democracy. In this scenario, while working within the  realm  of  separation
of powers (which is also fundamental  to  the  substantive  democracy),  the
judicial role is not only to decide the dispute before  the  Court,  but  to
uphold the rule of law and ensure access  to  justice  to  the  marginalized
section of the  society.  It  cannot  be  denied  that  TGs  belong  to  the
unprivileged class which is a marginalized section.

119.  The role of the Court is to understand the central purpose  and  theme
of the Constitution for the welfare of the society. Our  Constitution,  like
the law of the society, is a living organism.  It is based on a factual  and
social realty that is constantly changing. Sometimes a  change  in  the  law
precedes societal change and is even intended to stimulate it. Sometimes,  a
change in the law is the result in the social realty. When we discuss  about
the rights of TGs in the constitutional context, we find that  in  order  to
bring about complete paradigm shift,  law  has  to  play  more  pre-dominant
role. As TGs in India,  are  neither  male  nor  female,  treating  them  as
belonging to either of the aforesaid categories,  is  the  denial  of  these
constitutional rights. It is the denial of social justice which in turn  has
the effect of denying political and economic justice.

120.  In Dattatraya Govind Mahajan vs. State of  Maharashtra  (AIR  1977  SC
915) this Court observed:
                  “Our Constitution is a tryst with destiny,  preamble  with
           luscent solemnity in the words ‘Justice –  social,  economic  and
           political.’ The three great branches of Government, as  creatures
           of  the  Constitution,  must  remember  this  promise  in   their
           fundamental role and forget it at their peril, for to do so  will
           be a betrayal of chose high values and goals  which  this  nation
           set for itself in its objective Resolution  and  whose  elaborate
           summation appears in Part IV  of  the  Paramount  Parchment.  The
           history of our country’s struggle for independence was the  story
           of a battle between the forces of socio-economic exploitation and
           the  masses  of  deprived  people  of  varying  degrees  and  the
           Constitution sets the new sights of the  nation…..Once  we  grasp
           the dharma of the Constitution, the new orientation of the  karma
           of adjudication becomes clear. Our founding fathers, aware of our
           social realities,  forged  our  fighting  faith  and  integrating
           justice in its social,  economic  and  political  aspects.  While
           contemplating the meaning of the Articles of the Organic Law, the
           Supreme Court shall not disown Social Justice.”



121.    Oliver Wendlle Holmes said: “the life of law has  been  logical;  it
has been experience”.  It may be added that ‘the life of  law  is  not  just
logic or experience. The life of law is renewable based  on  experience  and
logic, which adapted law to the new social realty’. Recognizing  this  fact,
the aforesaid provisions of the Constitution are required to  be  given  new
and dynamic meaning with the inclusion of rights of TGs  as  well.  In  this
process, the first and foremost right is to recognize TGs as ‘third  gender’
in law as well. This is a recognition of their right of  equality  enshrined
in Art.14 as well as their human right to life with dignity,  which  is  the
mandate of the  Art.21  of  the  Constitution.  This  interpretation  is  in
consonance with new social needs. By doing so, this Court is  only  bridging
the gap between the law and life and that is the primary role of  the  Court
in a democracy. It only amounts to giving purposive  interpretation  to  the
aforesaid provisions of the  Constitution  so  that  it  can  adapt  to  the
changes in realty. Law without purpose has no raison d’etre. The purpose  of
law is the evolution of a happy society. As Justice Iyer has aptly put:
                                                         “The purpose of law
           is the establishment of the welfare of  society  “and  a  society
           whose members enjoy welfare and happiness may be described  as  a
           just society. It is a  negation  of  justice  to  say  that  some
           members, some groups, some minorities, some  individuals  do  not
           have welfare: on the other hand they suffer from ill-fare. So  it
           is axiomatic that law, if it is to fulfil itself, must produce  a
           contented, dynamic society which is at once meting out justice to
           its members.”

122.  It is now very well recognized  that  the  Constitution  is  a  living
character; its interpretation must be dynamic. It must be  understood  in  a
way that  intricate  and  advances  modern  realty.  The  judiciary  is  the
guardian of the Constitution and by ensuring to grant legitimate right  that
is due to TGs, we are simply protecting the Constitution and  the  democracy
inasmuch as judicial protection  and  democracy  in  general  and  of  human
rights in particular is a characteristic of our vibrant democracy.

123.    As we have pointed out above, our Constitution inheres  liberal  and
substantive democracy with  rule of law  as  an  important  and  fundamental
pillar. It has its own internal morality based on dignity  and  equality  of
all human beings.  Rule  of  law  demands  protection  of  individual  human
rights.  Such rights are to be guaranteed to each  and  every  human  being.
These TGs, even though insignificant in numbers, are still human beings  and
therefore they have every right to enjoy their human rights.

124.    In National Human Rights Commission vs. State of  Arunachal  Pradesh
(AIR 1996 SC 1234), This Court observed:
                 “We are a  country  governed  by  the  Rule  of  Law.  Our
           Constitution confers certain rights on  every  human  being  and
           certain other rights on citizens. Every person  is  entitled  to
           equality before the law and equal protection of the laws.”



125.    The rule of law is not merely public order.   The  rule  of  law  is
social justice based on public  order.  The  law  exists  to  ensure  proper
social life. Social life, however, is not a goal in itself but  a  means  to
allow the individual to life in dignity and development himself.  The  human
being and human rights underlie this substantive perception of the  rule  of
law, with a proper balance among the  different  rights  and  between  human
rights and the proper needs of society. The substantive rule of law “is  the
rule  of  proper  law,  which  balances  the  needs  of  society   and   the
individual.” This is  the  rule  of  law  that  strikes  a  balance  between
society’s  need  for  political  independence,  social  equality,   economic
development, and internal order, on the one  hand,  and  the  needs  of  the
individual, his personal liberty, and his human dignity on the other. It  is
the duty of the Court to protect this rich concept of the rule of law.

126.    By  recognizing  TGs  as  third  gender,  this  Court  is  not  only
upholding the rule of law but also advancing justice to the  class,  so  far
deprived of their legitimate  natural  and  constitutional  rights.  It  is,
therefore, the only just solution which ensures justice not only to TGs  but
also justice to the society as well. Social justice does not  mean  equality
before law in papers but  to  translate  the  spirit  of  the  Constitution,
enshrined  in  the  Preamble,  the  Fundamental  Rights  and  the  Directive
Principles of State Policy into action, whose arms are long enough to  bring
within its reach and embrace this right of  recognition  to  the  TGs  which
legitimately belongs to them.

127.    Aristotle opined that  treating  all  equal  things  equal  and  all
unequal things unequal amounts to justice. Kant was of the view that at  the
basis of all conceptions of justice, no matter  which  culture  or  religion
has inspired them, lies the golden rule that you should treat others as  you
would want everybody to  treat  everybody  else,  including  yourself.  When
Locke conceived of individual liberties, the  individuals  he  had  in  mind
were independently rich males. Similarly, Kant thought of economically self-
sufficient males as the only  possible  citizens  of  a  liberal  democratic
state. These theories may not be  relevant  in  today’s  context  as  it  is
perceived that the bias of their perspective is all too obvious  to  us.  In
post-traditional liberal democratic theories  of   justice,  the  background
assumption is that  humans  have  equal  value  and  should,  therefore,  be
treated as equal, as well as  by  equal  laws.  This  can  be  described  as
‘Reflective Equilibrium’. The method of  Reflective  Equilibrium  was  first
introduced by  Nelson  Goodman  in  ‘Fact,  Fiction  and  Forecast’  (1955).
However,  it  is  John  Rawls  who  elaborated  this  method  of  Reflective
Equilibrium by introducing the conception of ‘Justice as Fairness’.  In  his
‘Theory of Justice’, Rawls has proposed a model  of  just  institutions  for
democratic societies. Herein he draws on certain pre-theoretical  elementary
moral beliefs (‘considered judgments’), which he  assumes  most  members  of
democratic societies would accept. “[Justice as fairness [….] tries to  draw
solely upon basic  intuitive  ideas  that  are  embedded  in  the  political
institutions  of  a  constitutional  democratic  regime   and   the   public
traditions of their interpretations. Justice  as  fairness  is  a  political
conception in part  because  it  starts  from  within  a  certain  political
tradition. Based on this preliminary understanding of just  institutions  in
a democratic society, Rawls aims at a set of universalistic rules  with  the
help of which the justice of present formal and  informal  institutions  can
be assessed. The  ensuing  conception  of  justice  is  called  ‘justice  as
fairness’.  When we combine Rawls’s notion of Justice as Fairness  with  the
notions of Distributive Justice, to which Noble Laureate Prof.  Amartya  Sen
has also subscribed, we get jurisprudential basis for doing justice  to  the
Vulnerable Groups which definitely include TGs. Once  it  is  accepted  that
the TGs are also part of vulnerable groups and marginalized section  of  the
society, we are only bringing them  within  the  fold  of  aforesaid  rights
recognized in respect of other classes falling in  the  marginalized  group.
This is the minimum riposte in an attempt to  assuage  the       insult  and
injury suffered by them so  far  as  to  pave  way  for  fast  tracking  the
realization of their human rights.

128.    The aforesaid, thus, are my  reasons  for  treating  TGs  as  ‘third
gender’ for the purposes of safeguarding and enforcing  appropriately  their
rights guaranteed under the Constitution. These are my  reasons  in  support
of our Constitution to the two issues in these petitions.

                                                                 …………………….J.
                                              (A.K.Sikri)


129.     We, therefore, declare:
    (1) Hijras, Eunuchs, apart from binary gender,  be  treated  as  “third
        gender” for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III
        of our Constitution and the laws made by  the  Parliament  and  the
        State Legislature.
    (2) Transgender persons’ right to decide their  self-identified  gender
        is also upheld and the Centre and State Governments are directed to
        grant legal recognition of their  gender  identity  such  as  male,
        female or as third gender.
    (3) We direct the Centre and the State Governments  to  take  steps  to
        treat them  as  socially  and  educationally  backward  classes  of
        citizens and extend all kinds of reservation in cases of  admission
        in educational institutions and for public appointments.
    (4) Centre and State Governments are directed to operate  separate  HIV
        Sero-survellance Centres since Hijras/  Transgenders  face  several
        sexual health issues.
    (5) Centre and State Governments should seriously address the  problems
        being faced by Hijras/Transgenders  such  as  fear,  shame,  gender
        dysphoria, social pressure, depression, suicidal tendencies, social
        stigma, etc. and any insistence for SRS for declaring one’s  gender
        is immoral and illegal.
    (6) Centre and State Governments should take proper measures to provide
        medical care to TGs in the hospitals and also provide them separate
        public toilets and other facilities.
    (7) Centre and State Governments should also  take  steps  for  framing
        various social welfare schemes for their betterment.
    (8) Centre and State Governments should take  steps  to  create  public
        awareness so that TGs will feel that they are also part and  parcel
        of the social life and be not treated as untouchables.
    (9)  Centre and the State Governments  should  also  take  measures  to
        regain their respect and place  in  the  society  which  once  they
        enjoyed in our cultural and social life.


130.    We are informed an Expert Committee has already been constituted to
make an in-depth study of the problems faced by the  Transgender  community
and suggest measures that can be taken  by  the  Government  to  ameliorate
their problems and to submit its report with recommendations  within  three
months of its constitution.  Let the recommendations be examined  based  on
the legal declaration made in this  Judgment  and  implemented  within  six
months.

131.      Writ Petitions are, accordingly, allowed, as above.




                                        …..………………………J.
                                        (K.S. Radhakrishnan)






                                        ………………………….J.
                                        (A.K. Sikri)
New Delhi,
April 15, 2014.

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