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Transgender To Contest In Gram Panchayat Elections From Women’s Category: Bombay HC

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The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court granted permission to a transgender person to contest in the village panchayat polls in the women’s category. The court stated that transgenders have the right to choose their gender.

This decision was taken on January 2 after a petition was filed by Anjali Guru. The petition challenged the decision of the Returning Officer who rejected her nomination. Guru had filed a nomination to contest elections from the reserved ward for general category women. In the nomination, she had chosen women as the gender category.

Since there was no provision of a transgender category in the current gram panchayat election, her nomination form was rejected on December 31, 2020.

A.P Bhandari, the petitioner’s advocate told the court that his client has always chosen the female gender for all purposes. He added that the petitioner will not be switching over to the male gender in the future.
The single judge Bench of Justice Ravindra Ghuge that passed the petition mentioned that the Union government has introduced the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019. According to this Act, a transgender person has the right to self-perceived gender identity.

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“In the present case, the petitioner has opted for the female gender as her self-perceived gender identity and also makes a statement that henceforth in her lifetime, she would not switch over to male gender driven by opportunism and would continue to opt for the female gender, in future, save and except if there is a reservation provided for transgenders in public life,” the court said.

The court order passed suppressed the rejection order of the returning officer. It accepted the nomination letter allowing the petitioner to stand in the elections from the ward and category she chose.

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