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Shilpi Lawrence Elenjikal vs State Of Uttarakhand Through The on 29 April, 2019

HIGHCOURTOFUTTARAKHANDATNAINITAL

WritPetition(Criminal)No.28of2019

ShilpiLawrenceElenjikal…..Petitioner

Versus

StateofUttarakhandthroughthe
SecretaryHomeSecretariat
Dehradunandothers….Respondents

Ms.ShilpiLawreneElenjikalpetitionerpresentinperson.
Mr.P.S.Bohara,A.G.AfortheState.

Hon’bleRavindraMaithani,J.

ThisCourtisnowrequiredtodecideastoforthepurpose
ofcriminalinvestigation,whatwouldbethesexofthepetitioner.
Petitioner,whoispresentinpersonsaysthatsheis”she”andshould
beidentifiedassuch,whereaslearnedStatecounselwouldurgethat
theInvestigatingOfficerhastoactinaccordancewithSectiontheIndian
PenalCode,1860whichdefines’men’and’women’andaccordingly,
theInvestigatingOfficerhastakenadecision.

2.Heardpetitioner,presentinperson,learnedA.G.Aand
perusedtherecords.

3.Intheinstantcase,anF.I.Rwasfiledbythepetitioner,
whichwasregisteredasF.I.RNo.311of2018underSection377and
Section385I.P.C.Thepetitionerclaimsthatshehasidentifiedherselfas
“she”andsheshouldbetreatedassuch.Inviewofthejudgment
passedbyHon’bleSupremeCourt,inthecaseofNationalLegal
ServicesAuthorityVs.UnionofIndia,(2014)5SCC438.Onthelast
datei.e.on02.04.2019,whenthematterwasheard,theCourtpassed,
inter-alia,thefollowingorder:-

“PetitionerstatesbeforetheCourtthatindefianceofthedirection
ofHon’bleSupremeCourtinthecaseofNationalLegalServicesAuthorityVs.
UnionofIndia,(2014)5SCC438,theInvestigatingOfficerhassubmittedthe
charge-sheetunderSection377I.P.Candthishasbeendonedespitethefactthat
2

thewritpetitiononthesubjectisstillpendingintheCourt.Asupplementary
affidavithasalsobeenfiled.

Petitionerwouldarguethatshehasdeterminedhersexasfemale.Shehas
gotrecognitionassuchbytheStateofMaharashtraandinoneofthecounter
affidavitfiledbytheStateintheinstantcase,itwasdeposedbytheofficeofthe
StateGovernmentthatmatterisunderinvestigationunderSection376I.P.Cand
nowSection376I.P.Chasbeendeletedwithoutanyvalidreason.

Categoricalreferencehasbeenmadetoparagraph135.2and135.5ofthe
judgmentofNationalLegalServicesAuthoritycase(supra).Acompliance
affidavitandareportfromInvestigatingOfficerarepresentedbeforetheCourt.
Copiesofthesamebeservedtothepetitionerandthenbetakenonrecord.

Petitionerhasverypainfullyarguedthatbasedonchromosomesand
biologicalsexofthepetitioner,herrighttoself-identificationofgenderhasbeen
denied.Areferencehasalsobeenmadetoacircular,whichisatpageno.24of
thecounteraffidavittoarguethatInvestigatingOfficerhasalsodefiedtothe
circularissuedbytheStateofUttarakhand.”(emphasissupplied)

4.Inanutshell,whathasbeenarguedbytheStateisthat
petitionerisnot”she”butis”he”,basedonherbiologicalsex.Whatis
importanttonoticeisthatareportofInvestigatingOfficerdated
02.04.2019,filedintheCourtrevealsthattheInvestigatingOfficer
startedreadingtheDNAofthepetitionerandbiologicallydeclaredon
herownthatthepetitionerisnot”she”butis”he”.Though,thereport
alsorecordsthatthepetitionerhasconductedreassignmentsurgery
andhasalsoobtainedacertificatethatshemaybeaddressedas”she”.

5.ItisbroughttothenoticeoftheCourtthatbasedonthe
F.I.R,lodgedbythepetitioner,charge-sheethasalreadybeenfiled
underSection377I.P.CandbailcancellationispendinginthisCourt,
whichislistedsometimeaftertwoweeksfromnow.Outcomeofthis
petitionwilldefinitelyhaveanaffectonthatcharge-sheetaswell.

6.Needlesstosay,thisisanissueofgravesocial
importance;itisnottouchinguponthepetitioneralonebutthousands
ofothers,whomayhavetofacesuchkindofsituation.Onbehalfof
StateofUttarakhand,anaffidavithasbeenfiledbyaJointSecretary.
InParaNo.6oftheaffidavittheseniorpublicservantofUttarakhand
State,statesthatbasedonthestatementsofthewitnesses,the
InvestigatingOfficerhastakenadecisionandatthatmoment,itwas
recordedthatSection376I.P.Cwasalsoadded.ButinParaNo.6part
3

2oftheaffidavit,itisstatedthatthisfactisnotyetconclusiveproof.
Theselinesoftheseniorpublicservantdepictsthatthediscretionwas
giventotheInvestigatingOfficertoidentifythegenderofthe
petitionerandasstated,InvestigatingOfficeronthebasisofsome
DNAstudydeclaredthatthepetitionerisnotacompletewomen,
biologically.

7.TheCourtwouldnotliketocommentastotheway,State
isproceedinginthematter.Itwillberesolvedatthelaterstagebut
somereferencesofthejudgmentofHon’bleSupremeCourtinthe
caseofNationalLegalServicesAuthority(supra)hastobemade.In
ParaNo.28ofthejudgment,referencehasbeenmadetothedecision
ofUnitedKingdominthecaseofCorbettVs.Corbett(1970)2
AII.E.R33,inwhichcaseaviewwasexpressedthatanyoperative
interventionshouldbeignoredandthebiologicalsexualconstitution
ofanindividualisfixedatbirth,atthelatest,andcannotbechanged
eitherbythenaturaldevelopmentoforgansoftheoppositesexorby
medicalorsurgicalmeans.Hon’bleSupremeCourthasontheother
handupheldthe”psychologicaltest”insteadof”biologicaltest”.In
ParaNo.37ofthejudgmentofHon’bleSupremeCourtinthecaseof
NationalLegalServicesAuthority(supra),itwasheldashereunder:-

“37.Thejudgmentsreferredtoabovearemainlyrelatedto
transsexuals,who,whilstbelongingphysicallytoonesex,feelconvincedthat
theybelongtotheother,seektoachieveamoreintegratedunambiguousidentity
byundergoingmedicalandsurgicaloperationstoadapttheirphysical
characteristictotheirpsychologicalnature.Whenweexaminetherightsof
transsexualpersons,whohaveundergoneSRS,thetesttobeappliedisnotthe
“biologicaltest”,butthe”psychologicaltest”,becausepsychologicalfactorand
thinkingoftranssexualhastobegivenprimacythanbinarynotionofgenderof
thatperson.Seldompeoplerealizethediscomfort,distressandpsychological
trauma,theyundergoandmanyofthemundergo”genderdysphoria”whichmay
leadtomentaldisorder.Discriminationfacedbythisgroupinoursociety,is
ratherunimaginableandtheirrightshavetobeprotected,irrespectiveof
chromosomalsex,genitals,assignedbirthsex,orimpliedgenderrole.Rightof
transgenders,pureandsimple,likehijras,eunuchs,etc.havealsotobeexamined,
soalsotheirrighttoremainasathirdgenderaswellastheirphysicaland
psychologicalintegrity.Beforeaddressingthoseaspectsfurther,wemayalso
refertofewlegislationsenactedinothercountriesrecognisingtheirrights.”

(emphasissupplied)
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8.Itispertinenttomentionherethatthepetitionerhas
deposedthatshehasundergone”genderreassignmentsurgery”in
ParaNo.3ofthepetitionandacertificatetothateffecthasbeen
enclosedasannexureno.2tothepetition.

9.Hon’bleSupremeCourt,inthecaseofNationalLegal
ServicesAuthority(supra),didnotaccepttheCorbettprincipleof
“biologicaltest”ratherpreferredtofollowthepsychofthepersonin
determiningsexandgender.IthasbeencategoricallyheldinParaNo.
81whichisquotedhereinbelow:-

“81.SectionArticle14Section,15Section,16Section,19andSection21,abovediscussion,would
indicate,donotexcludehijras/transgendersfromtheirambit,buttheIndianlaw
onthewholerecognizetheparadigmofbinarygendersofmaleandfemale,based
onone’sbiologicalsex.Asalreadyindicated,wecannotaccepttheCorbett
Principleof”biologicaltest”,ratherweprefertofollowthepsycheoftheperson
indeterminingsexandgenderandpreferthe”psychologicaltest”insteadof
“biologicaltest”.BinarynotionofgenderreflectsinSectionthePenalCode,1860for
example,Section8,Section10,etc.andalsointhelawsrelatedtomarriage,adoption,
divorce,inheritance,successionandotherwelfarelegislationslikeNREGA,2005,
etc.Non-recognitionoftheidentityofhijras/transgendersinthevarious
legislationsdeniesfromequalprotectionoflawandtheyfacewidespread
discrimination.”(emphasissupplied)

10.Itappearsthatthisaspectof”biologicaltest”and
“psychologicaltest”couldnotbenoticedbytheState.PerhapsState
didnotconsiderthattheHon’bleSupremeCourtinthecaseof
NationalLegalServicesAuthority(supra)didnotaccepttheCorbett
principleofdeterminingsexbecausetheseniorpublicservantleaves
ittothewisdomofInvestigatingOfficertodeterminesexofthe
petitioner.ItmaybenotedherethatinthecaseofNationalLegal
ServicesAuthority(supra)thisrighthasbeengiventothepetitioner
inviewofParaNo.135.2ofthejudgmentwhichisashereunder:-

“135.2Transgenderpersons’righttodecidetheirself-identified
genderisalsoupheldandtheCentreandStateGovernmentsaredirectedtogrant
legalrecognitionoftheirgenderidentitysuchasmale,femaleorasthirdgender.”

(emphasissupplied)
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11.Asstatedhereinbefore,theInvestigatingOfficerhasgone
toanalysisDNA;the”biologicaltest”;inanutshell,theInvestigating
OfficerhasgonetoCorbettprinciple.

12.ThisCourtmaydisposeofthismatterbyordernowbut
perhapsStatemayconsideritapplicabletothecaseofthepetitioner
alonewhereas,asstated,thisisnotanissuewhicheffectsthe
petitioneralone.Theinstantissuearisesfromconstitutional
conscience;itarisesfromrighttoequality,righttolifeasenshrined
underSectionArticle14andSection21oftheConstitutionofIndia.Itisanissue
whichtheStateisobligatedtoconsiderinletterandspiritofthe
judgmentoftheHon’bleSupremeCourt,inthecaseofNationalLegal
ServicesAuthority(supra).Therefore,thiscourtisoftheviewthata
SeniorOfficeroftheStateofUttarakhandshouldbeaskedtoanswer
thisCourtallthosequestionswhichhavebeenraisedhereinbeforein
thisorder.

13.Therefore,letHomeSecretaryStateofUttarakhandfile
anaffidavit,replyingtheissuesraisedbythepetitionerinherpetition
aswellasinthesupplementaryaffidavitdated19.04.2019.Inaddition
toit,itshallalsobeclarified,astohowtheInvestigatingOfficermay
begiventherightofdeterminationofsexorgenderofthepetitioner?
HowtheInvestigatingOfficercandeterminethesexandgenderofthe
petitionerbasedonsomeDNAanalysisand”biologicaltest”?How
InvestigatingOfficercouldapplytheCorbettprinciplewhichwasnot
acceptedbytheHon’bleSupremeCourt?Theaffidavitmustbefiled
within10daysfromnow.

14.Havingconsideredtheimportanceofthematterlearned
AdvocateGeneralmayliketoassisttheCourtonthisissueofseminal
importance.

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15.Listthiscaseon13.05.2019,asthefirstcasewithBCA
No.7of2019.

(RavindraMaithani,J.)
29.04.2019
Shubham

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