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CHANCHAL BHATTACHARYA VS. STATE OF WEST BENGAL

Read the full judgement here
citation:

2016 SCC OnLine Cal 2124

court:

High Court of Calcutta

judges:

Justice Dipankar Datta

KEY FACTS:

Tamal identified as male but had been assigned female at birth. He had struggled with gender dysphoria and, on the basis of multiple medical consultations, had decided to undergo sex-reassignment surgery.

Tamal declared his name change before a magistrate after the surgery. His father then applied for new educational certificates which would reflect the change in name and gender. However, the Council rejected his application. Tamal challenged the Council’s order in the High Court.

ISSUES & DECISION:

The issue faced by the court was whether the Councils order, rejecting Tamal’s application, was wrong. Tamal cited the Supreme Court decision in NALSA vs. Union Of India, the Madras High Court decision in S. Swapna vs. State of Tamil Nadu, and Prithika Yashini vs. State of Tamil Nadu to argue against the Council’s order. The Council argued that it was not mandated to issue new educational certificates under any statute. It also argued that issuing a new certificate might raise the question of how a boy has completed education at a girls school.

The Court noted that no questions had been raised about Tamal’s gender identity. Thus, it suspended the Council’s order. It also ordered the Council to endorse Tamal’s self-declared name and gender in all educational records. It directed the president of the Council to ensure that the certificates are issued within 4 weeks after the order has been received.

SIGNIFICANCE:

This case maintained a person’s right to self-identify their gender and have any changes to name and gender reflected in official documents.