CHENNAI: Can a person who grew up as a girl and subsequently joined the police, be forced to resign after medical tests claimed she was a transgender? The Madras High Court recently rejected the medical report, declared her a woman and directed the police to reinstate her.
Born in October, 1989 as a girl, Mahalakshmi (name changed) was brought up, educated, recognised and appointed as a female constable in February, 2013.
However, during medical check up in the course of training, she was found to be a transsexual. Then, she was forced to resign from the post. Her resignation was accepted and she was relieved from service in March, 2013.
Aggrieved, Mahalakshmi moved the high court. In his counter, Thanjavur SP submitted that she was not terminated on the ground of being a transsexual. She submitted the resignation on her own, he said.
Justice S Nagamuthu, before whom Mahalakshmi’s writ petition came up for hearing, noted that she was born as a female, brought up and recognised as a female by the society as well as governmental agencies. But, unfortunately, she was mis-branded as a transsexual based on medical examination. “Whether such a finding about sexual identity, based on a mere medical examination could be accepted, is itself debatable.
There is no consensus among the scientists on this issue. Therefore, it has to be necessarily held that petitioner is a female for all purposes and directions issued by the Supreme Court in Nangai’s case are applicable to the petitioner also,” the judge said and accordingly declared her a female.
Coming to the second point raised by petitioner that the resignation letter was obtained by force, the judge said that there was every reason to accept it. She was born to an illiterate poor family belonging to SC community. Such a girl, who had undergone selection process, would not have given the resignation voluntarily.
She would have resigned due to humiliation and fear of ridicule as a transsexual. “Therefore, I hold that the resignation letter is not voluntary,’’ the judge said and declared and added that she has got every right to retain such sexual/gender identity. The judge also set aside the order of termination from service and ordered her reinstatement within six weeks with continuity in service.