[Self-perceived Gender Identity] Bombay High Court allows Transgender person to contest Panchayat election as female from ward reserved for women

The returning officer was handicapped as far as knowledge of law was concerned while deciding the nomination form of the petitioner, the Court observed while permitting the petitioner to contest the election.
[Self-perceived Gender Identity] Bombay High Court allows Transgender person to contest Panchayat election as female from ward reserved for women
Transgender

The Bombay High Court at Aurangabad has allowed Anjali Guru Sanjana Jaan, a transgender person, to contest the village panchayat election from a ward reserved for women based on her self-perceived gender identity as a female.

In an order passed on January 2, 2021, a single-judge Bench of Justice RV Ghuge said that the Central government by introducing the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 has permitted a transgender person to have a right to be recognized and such transgender is permitted to have the right to self-perceived gender identity.

"In the present case, the petitioner has opted for the female gender as her self perceived gender identity and makes a solemn statement, which is recorded as the statement made to the Court, that henceforth in her lifetime she would not switch over to the male gender," the Court said.

It, therefore, set aside the order passed on December 31, 2020 by the Returning Officer who had rejected Anjali's nomination.

“The Returning Officer was handicapped insofar as the knowledge of law was concerned, while deciding the fate of the nomination form of the petitioner. No other contesting candidate has taken any objection against the petitioner. It is the Returning Officer, who was circumspect about the nomination form of the petitioner believing that the petitioner can neither be a male nor a female and the ward has been reserved for women general category,” the High Court said.

"Transgender person is permitted to have a right to self perceived gender identity."
Bombay High Court

Anjali was compelled to approach the High Court after her nomination form was rejected by the returning officer on the ground that she had chosen the female gender in the form and applied for contesting elections in the ward reserved for women-general category.

Justice Ghuge was informed that Anjali had opted for the female gender as her self-perceived gender identity.

Admittedly there is no reservation for the transgender category in the present panchayat elections.

Since her application was found to be complete in all respects, the High Court accepted the same thereby allowing Anjali to contest the election from the ward and the category which she opted in her nomination form.

[Read order]

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