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Kerala HC orders medical exam of transgender after mother files habeas corpus

Murali Krishnan

The Kerala High Court is seized of another potentially controversial case. A Habeas Corpus petition had been filed by the mother of a transgender person seeking the custody of the person.

A Bench of Justices V Chitambaresh and KP Jyothindranath today ordered a psychological/medical examination of the transgender person, this despite the person asserting that she is a transgender.

The petitioner has contended that her son is not a transgender “physically or psychologically”. However, he had “mental aberration of mood disorder” and a transgender group took advantage of the same and detained him. She has alleged that her son even changed his name to Arundhathi “in conspiracy with the interested transgender gang”.

The petitioner had earlier filed a complaint with the police, who had located the alleged detenue. However, the person was set free by the Magistrate without medical examination on the ground that the alleged detenue was 25 years old, the petition states.

The High Court today ordered medical/psychological examination of the detenue to be done at the mental hospital at Kusumagiri.

The case raises the important question of gender identity. While the mother claims that the person is not a transgender mentally or psychologically, the alleged detenue has told DoolNews that she is living as per her wishes and has identified herself as a woman from the age of 11.

The Supreme Court in 2014 had addressed this question and ruled that transgenders are a third gender and the State should take steps to recognise them as such.

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