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T THANUSU VS. THE SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT OF TAMIL NADU

Read the full judgement here
citation:

MANU/TN/0972/2014

court:

High court of Madras

judges:

Justice S Nagamuthu

KEY FACTS:

T. Thanasu was selected for the post of grade II woman police constable. Before her deputation, the recruitment board (“the board”) asked her to undergo a medical examination. The examination revealed the absence of uterus in her body. Based on the medical examination report, “the board”  declared Thanasu as a transgender person and revoked her employment.

Thanasu identified as a woman. This was reflected in all her identity documents. She sent repeated representations to the respective authorities to issue her appointment order. However, she did not get any response from them. She filed a petition before High Court of Madras seeking appropriate directions.

ISSUES & DECISION:

The issue before the court was whether the absence of uterus means a person is a transgender. Thanusu argued she identified as a woman and found being labelled as a transgender person unjust and humiliating. The secretary of state refuted  Thanusu’s argument, referring to a community certificate where her gender identity was listed as ‘selvan’ (male) instead of ‘Selvi’ (female). Further, they also referred to the medical report to declare that Thanasu was a transgender person.

The Court considered the question: “who is a transgender person”. It relied on the decision of the Madras High Court in  Nangai v. Superintendent of Police to explain the meaning of “transsexualism” and its relationship to the employment in the police. Further, it referred to the Supreme Court decision in NALSA v. Union Of India to affirm each individual’s right to self-identify their gender identity.

The Court suspended the order of termination issued by “the board” and insisted to appoint her as woman police constable within six weeks.

SIGNIFICANCE: 

The court highlighted that the absence of uterus should be considered only as a congenital defect. Further, affirming one’s right to self-identify their gender, it stated that medical examinations should not be the deciding factor for a person’s gender identity.