Mumbai, January 5
The Bombay High Court’s Aurangabad Bench has allowed a transgender to contest village panchayat polls in women’s category, saying that such persons have the right to “self-perceived gender identity”.
A single bench of Justice Ravindra Ghuge on January 2 allowed a petition filed by Anjali Guru Sanjana Jaan challenging the December 31, 2020 order passed by a returning officer that rejected her nomination for contesting a gram panchayat election in Jalgaon district.
In the nomination form, the petitioner had chosen female gender and submitted the form to contest from a ward reserved for women’s general category.
The form was, however, rejected as the petitioner was a transgender and there was no transgender category in the present village panchayat elections.
The petitioner’s advocate A P Bhandari informed the court that the petitioner has always chosen female gender for all purposes and will not be switching over to male gender anytime in the future.
The court in its order noted that the Union government has introduced the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and has permitted a transgender person to have a 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 also makes a statement that henceforth in her lifetime, she would not switch over to male gender driven by opportunism and would continue to opt for female gender, in future, save and except if there is a reservation provided for transgenders in public life,” the court said.
The court quashed the rejection order passed by the returning officer, accepted the nomination form and permitted the petitioner to contest the election from the ward and category she has opted for in her nomination form. PTI