Married for two years, man-transwoman couple in Tamil Nadu awaits marriage certificate

It is obligatory for a couple to register their marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

Published: 28th January 2020 05:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2020 05:01 PM   |  A+A-

Surega and Manigandan. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

COIMBATORE: It is obligatory for a couple to register their marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

Ever since the Supreme Court, in 2016, made it mandatory to do so for the protection of women, the process has been fairly simple and well adhered to.

However, a man-transwoman couple from Narasimhanaickenpalayam did not expect that obtaining the certificate would turn out to be an arduous task.

After convincing their parents, R Manigandan (25), an autorickshaw driver, married Surega (24), who sells milk, at Paranjothi Mariamman temple near Kavundampalayam, as per Hindu customs on February 14, 2018. 

When they approached the District Registrar and Sub-Registrar Office, Manigandan and Surega were informed that a Government Order is necessary to grant them a marriage certificate.

Surega said they have provided all the necessary documents required, yet getting their hands on the certificate seems far-fetched.

“Officials promised to get back to us after consulting their higher-ups. It has been almost two years since we got married but there seems to be no solution to this issue,” she added.

“We even cited the directions made by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on April 22, 2019, where Justice G R Swaminathan ordered the district registrar to register the marriage between the man and transwoman in Thoothukudi,” Manigandan said. 

“Sometimes to see the obvious, one needs not only physical vision in the eye but also love in the heart,” Justice Swaminathan wrote in his 28-page order.

The couple’s recent attempt to get the certificate at Vadavalli Sub-Registrar’s office yielded nothing but disappointment as authorities directed them to reach out to the District Registrar’s office.  

A copy of the reply from Sub-Registrar’s office that was acquired by Express stated that the marriage certificate to the couple could not be granted as there are no provisions under Section 5 (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.

Efforts to reach District Registrar A Suresh Kumar regarding the issue went in vain.

The couple on Monday submitted a petition asking the collector why they are ineligible to receive a marriage certificate. Sources said the couple was asked to visit the Collectorate after a few days.

When contacted, Collector K Rajamani assured that he would look into the matter.

Advocate Vijayaragavan Mohan said, “The need of the hour is to modify age-old laws and pave the way for changes in the society. The High Court must give some directions in this regard so that issues like these are addressed”


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