The Karnataka High Court directed the Universities in Karnataka to process applications for change of name and gender in Degree Certificates upon receipt of such requests instead of driving applicants to the Court to secure such directions.

A writ petition was filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution to direct Manipal University to issue a fresh degree certificate to reflect the change in the petitioner's name and gender.

The petitioner urged the Court to direct universities in Karnataka to update the degree certificates of transgender persons, reflecting changes in their name and gender identity, and provide revised certificates without requiring them to approach the courts.

A Single Bench of Justice Ravi V. Hosmani observed, “Since it is brought to notice of this Court that there are innumerable such instances awaiting consideration before Universities/Educational Institutions, it is observed that would be appropriate for said authorities to process applications for change of name and gender upon receipt of requests keeping in mind ratio laid down by Hon'ble Supreme Court in NLSA's case (supra) and this Court in Christina Lobo's case (supra) instead of driving all applicants to Court for securing directions.

Sr. Advocate Jayna Kothari represented the petitioner, while Advocate Vinay N appeared for the respondents.

The petitioner underwent gender reassignment surgeries and officially changed his name vide publication in the Official Kerala Gazette Notification. He applied to change of name and gender in his Post Graduate Degree Certificate, but the University refused to do so on the grounds that change would be enabled only for short duration after Degree Certificate was issued.

The Court remarked, “On perusal of writ petition records, it would appear that petitioner has already obtained change of name and gender in Bachelors Degree Certificate and other public records. But, as pointed out for consideration, petitioner would be required to surrender original Degree Certificate and Marks Cards.

The Court relied on the judgment established in the case of Christina Lobo v. State of Karnataka, 2020 SCC OnLine Kar 1634 where the Karnataka High Court allowed an appeal of a transgender person to get their name changed on official documents.

Accordingly, the Court directed the University to consider the petitioner’s representation once he submits his Original Marks Cards and Degree Certificate to the Registrar of the University.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the writ petition.

Cause Title: Vihaan Peethambar v. Manipal University & Ors. (2024:KHC:574)

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