Jeeva M. v. State of Karnataka & Anr.

March 28, 2019 | Itla Ragiri Jayalakshmi
Case No. Writ Petition No. 12113/2019 Date of Filing 15/03/2019 Status Disposed Petitioners Jeeva M. Respondents State of Karnataka through the Department of Pre-University Education; Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board

This writ petition was filed by a transgender person before the Karnataka High Court seeking change of name and gender in school certificates and pre-university records (‘documents’).

 

The Petitioner was born as a biological female. The Petitioner’s school certificates record his name as ‘Jeevitha M’ and gender as ‘female’. However, the Petitioner identified as a male at a very young age. Therefore, he approached the Respondents to issue fresh educational certificates reflecting his self-identified name and gender. However, despite multiple requests, the Respondents had not taken any action.

 

The Petitioner argued that the failure of the Respondents to carry out change in the documents violates his fundamental right to equality, right to live a dignified life, right to express his gender identity, and right to privacy under Articles 14, 15, 19(1)(a), and 21 of the Constitution of India respectively.

 

Further, the Petitioner relied on the landmark decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in NALSA v. Union of India. NALSA held that the right to choose one’s gender identity is integral to lead a life with dignity. Article 21 undoubtedly guarantees this right.

 

On considering the submissions of the Petitioner, the Hon’ble Court directed the Respondents to consider his representations and carry out necessary changes in the certificates and records, which reflects the Petitioner’s gender identity. It further directed the State of Karnataka to issue a circular to all educational authorities directing them to provide revised documents to transgender persons, reflecting changes in the name and self-identified gender in accordance with the guidelines in NALSA.

 

This decision of the Hon’ble Court unequivocally upholds a trans person’s right to self-identify their gender and seek revised identification documents which reflect the change in name and self-identified gender.

Case No. Writ Petition No. 12113/2019 Date of Filing 15/03/2019 Status Disposed Petitioners Jeeva M. Respondents State of Karnataka through the Department of Pre-University Education; Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board