The Bombay High Court has directed the State Government to instruct educational institutions to allow retrospective name and gender change of transgender persons in educational records.

The Court gave this direction while dealing with a plea of an ex-student of an educational institute who sought to change name and gender in their education records. The petitioner had prayed to re-issue the Petitioner’s education documents in their chosen name and gender.

“We expressly find, acknowledge and record in this Petition that the Petitioner has voluntarily self-identified as transgender in a name other than that which was given at birth. We also acknowledge that at birth the gender of the Petitioner was noted as female. This is all that is required to be done and so far as the Petitioner’s past is concerned. For the rest, we see no impediment to the grant of relief…”, Justice G.S.Patel and Justice Neela Gokhale observed.

Advocate Rebecca Gonsalvez appeared for the petitioner whereas Advocate PH Kantharia appeared for the State.

The petitioner’s last grade card, degree certificate and other documents were issued by the institute in the previous name with the gender female. The Petitioner submitted that the Petitioner is entitled to a re-issuance of these documents in the current name and with the current gender. The Petitioner made a representation but there was no response.

The petitioner also pointed out that there is no process on the website of the institute to deal with a situation such as this, i.e., for a change of name and gender and the re-issuance of documents.

“This is not a case of there being any conceivable adversary. This is a case of a denial of a human being’s self-identity and self-identification. That cannot be done and cannot be permitted. Nor can an institute be permitted to force upon the Petitioner a name, identity or a gender that the Petitioner has chosen to reject in preference to some other.”, the Court said.

Thus the Court directed “There is absolutely no reason why the online forms on the website of the 1st Respondent and indeed every other educational institution that is or are subject to our writ jurisdiction should not have a form for precisely such changes, i.e., noting a change in name and a change in gender. It is for the 1st Respondent to make this change on the 1st Respondent’s website and for the 2nd Respondent State Government to issue the necessary instructions to all similar educational institutions across Maharashtra

Cause Title- X v. The Dean

Click here to read/download Order