Karnataka High Court Directs Universities to Adhere to SC Guidelines as to Avoid Legal Proceedings for Transgender Certificates

LI Network

Published on: January 21, 2024 at 11:00 IST

The High Court of Karnataka has issued a directive to educational institutions, urging them to adhere to Supreme Court guidelines and refrain from compelling individuals to seek legal intervention for changes in name and gender on educational certificates.

The Court’s guidance came during the consideration of a petition filed by a transgender individual seeking a revised post-graduation certificate from Manipal University, reflecting his updated male identity.

Highlighting the numerous pending instances before universities and educational institutions, the High Court emphasized the appropriateness of processing applications for name and gender changes in line with the Supreme Court’s directives in the National Legal Services Authority’s case and the court’s decision in Christina Lobo’s case.

The petitioner, Vihaan Peethambar, approached the High Court, and the petition was heard by Justice Ravi V Hosmani, resulting in a disposal on January 5.

Senior counsel Jayna Kothari, representing Vihaan, explained that the petitioner had completed the PG MS Communication course at the university in 2008 under the name ‘Jyothi Peethambar.’

Despite being female by birth, Vihaan underwent gender reassignment surgeries in 2015, adopting the male gender and the name ‘Vihaan Peethambar.’ The petitioner secured updated PAN, Aadhar, Voter ID, passport, and degree certificates in the new name.

However, in 2017, Manipal University rejected Vihaan’s request, citing limitations on changes after a certificate’s initial issuance. Citing two relevant judgments, the High Court noted that the Supreme Court had issued guidelines for such cases.

The Court granted the petition, allowing the petitioner to submit a representation, along with original marks cards and the degree certificate, to the university’s Registrar within four weeks. Upon receipt, the university was directed to consider the representation and take action in line with the Supreme Court’s guidelines within an additional four weeks.

This ruling aims to streamline the process for individuals seeking changes to their educational certificates based on gender identity, eliminating the need for legal intervention and upholding the principles laid down by the Supreme Court.

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