Challenging denial in name and gender change documents for Transgender Persons in Colleges and Universities

Raghav P.R. Vs. State of Kerala, W.P. (C) 1443/2020 | High Court of Kerala | |

(This is the first case in Kerala challenging the lack of transgender policy in Calicut University and the denial of changing the gender and name in the certificate of a transgender person.)

The petitioner was assigned a female name (‘Rensha’, herein after referred to as dead name) and female gender at birth. From his childhood onwards the petitioner identified himself as a boy and exhibited gender non-confirming behaviour in school, often resulting in reprimand and ridicule from peers and school authorities.

The petitioner sought admission for B. Com in his dead name in a women’s college under Calicut University, Kerala and managed to complete his graduation despite heavy bullying and harassment. He was issued degree certificate by University of Calicut bearing the dead name and gender. After completing B. Com (Hons), the petitioner took admission in a college under Mahatma Gandhi University for Post-Graduation in his dead name, since his other records documented that. He received the Post Graduate degree in his dead name hence he filed a representation to make changes in the Post Graduate degree certificate which was approved by Mahatma Gandhi University.

Later petitioner worked in a company, where he had to complete all documentation in his dead name. However, the organization accepted the gender identity of the petitioner. After working for more than a year, the petitioner decided to undergo sex reassignment surgery so as to align his body with his gender identity of male. On 12th April 2018, the petitioner underwent SRS and he decided to legally change his name and gender, vide publication in the Official Gazette.

On 23rd March, 2019 the Petitioner wrote a letter to University of Calicut to change his name and gender in Degree certificate and record his present legal name instead of his dead name. He also informed that he had legally changed his name, via publication in the Official Gazette and had undergone SRS too. The University of Calicut responded that the changes cannot be accommodated as the qualification was acquired after the date of Gazette notification. Hence, the writ petition.