Christina v. State of Karnataka & Ors.

October 16, 2020
Case No. W.P. No.8024/2020 (EDN-RES) Date of Filing 14/05/2020 Status Disposed Petitioners Christina Lobo Respondents 1. State of Karnataka, Education Department 2. State of Karnataka, Department of Pre-university Education 3. Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board 4. The Central Board of secondary Education 5. St. Aloysius Pre-University College 6. Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences 7. Father Muller Medical College

The Petitioner, who is a transgender woman, filed this Petition challenging the inaction of the Respondents in issuing new CBSE marks certificate, PU certificate and the degree records which reflects her change in name and gender identity. The Petitioner was born as a biological male, however, she identified as female from a very young age. In all her certificates, her name was recorded as her biological given name and her gender was recorded as ‘male’. Presently, the Petitioner’s records at her institution of higher education too reflected only her biological name and gender as ‘male’.

 

It is the contention of the Petitioner that although though she was assigned male at birth, her self-identified gender is female. After undergoing a psychological evaluation by a clinical psychologist, the petitioner underwent a Gender Reassignment Surgery, subsequent to which she officially changed her name to her chosen name by executing an affidavit and issued a public notice advertising the change in name and gender. Moreover, she obtained an Aadhaar card and a passport with her chosen name and gender recorded as female. On that note, the Petitioner approached the above-mentioned education boards and institutions to issue her fresh educational certificates which reflects her self-identified name and gender. However, they did not take any action. Instead, CBSE passed an order dated 12.02.2020 stating that there is no provision in the bye-laws of the Board to change the gender of the applicant and that Board shall only abide by the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019 when made applicable by the Government of India.

 

The petition made a reference to order of Karnataka High Court in Jeeva v. State of Karnataka W.P. 12113/019 (EDN-RES), in which it was held that the changes to name and gender in the educational documents of transgender persons should be made by the educational authorities upon receiving representation from the applicants and without the necessity of a court order. Further, the petition has cited the judgment of Supreme Court in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India (2014) 5 SCC 438, the Justice K. Puttaswamy (Retd.) & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors. 2017 SCC Online SC 996 to indicate that the inaction of the Respondents is a complete violation of the Petitioner’s Fundamental Right to life, equality and gender identity and her right to live a dignified life and have her privacy under Articles 14, 15, 19 (1) (a) and 21 of the Constitution respectively.

 

The Hon’ble High Court relied on Rule 3 (3) of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules 2020 in which a transgender person who has officially recorded their change in gender prior to the coming into force of the Act are not required to submit an application for a certificate of identity under the Rules. Accordingly, since the identity of the Petitioner is officially recorded in the Aadhaar card and the passport, the Court held that the Petitioner is not required to make an application for a certificate of her identity.

 

Accordingly, the High Court of Karnataka on 1.10.2020 allowed the petition and directed respondent No.2 and 3 to issue revised Pre-University certificate showing the chosen name of the Petitioner. The Court further ordered Respondent 4, CBSE to set-aside their order dated 12.02.202 and to issue revised CBSE marks card showing the name of the Petitioner as her chosen name and her gender as ‘female’. Likewise, the Court directed the Medical College and affiliated University, Respondent 6 and 7, to change the name and gender of the Petitioner in the MBBS records and to issue revised marks cards.

Case No. W.P. No.8024/2020 (EDN-RES) Date of Filing 14/05/2020 Status Disposed Petitioners Christina Lobo Respondents 1. State of Karnataka, Education Department 2. State of Karnataka, Department of Pre-university Education 3. Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board 4. The Central Board of secondary Education 5. St. Aloysius Pre-University College 6. Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences 7. Father Muller Medical College