G.Nagalakshmi was assigned female at birth. She was selected for the post of a woman police constable. She went through a medical check-up which included a gender test during her training. The results declared her as a “Pseudo-Hermaphrodite” or “transsexual”. Consequently, the Vice Principal of the Police Recruitment School asked her to submit a letter of resignation. She approached the court to argue against her dismissal from the police constable post.
ISSUES & DECISION:
The Court had to decide whether the results of Nagalakshmi’s medical test should supersede her self-declared gender identity. In its decision, the Court delved into literature by medical and mental health professionals to understand “transsexualism”. Further, it took note of the concerns of the transgender persons and the absence of laws that address their rights. The Court relied on NALSA v Union of India to grant Nagalakshmi the right to self-identify her gender.
The Court also considered whether the Police Recruitment School acted in response to Nagalakshmi’s resignation letter or on the basis of her gender identity. Nagalakshmi argued that she was compelled to submit a resignation citing chest pains. The Court declared that the letter was written involuntarily. This was based on Nagalakshmi’s Scheduled Caste background and the lack of medical exigencies.
Furthermore, relying on Nangai v Superintendent of Police, the Court upheld Nagalakshmi’s gender identity as “female”. It set aside the order terminating her services and reinstated her in the same position. It allowed her to identify herself as “third gender” in future, under conducive laws.
Finally, the Court also recognised that the medical results had caused Nagalakshmi distress and mental agony. It also expressed concern for the ostracisation she is likely to face on the basis of the results. Finally, it invoked the Constitution of India to argue for greater sensitisation, empathy and humanity towards transmen and transwomen.
The Court upheld the directives of NALSA v Union of India in emphasising all persons right to self-identify their gender.