Kerala High Court: In a case where a transgender person was declined participation in District Judo Competition, V.G. Arun, J., held that if the organisers have not made arrangements for participating transgenders, they have to allow the petitioner to participate in her chosen category.
On being denied participation in the District Level Judo competition, the petitioner, a transsexual person, whose chosen self-perceived gender identity is woman, had approached the Court with her grievances.
The petitioner underwent Sex Reassignment Surgery and claimed that the transition is complete. Being an active sports person, who had participated in various sports items like athletics, judo, wrestling, etc., she is desirous to participate in the District Level Judo competition being held by Kerala Judo Association and Kozhikode District Judo Association (respondents 3 and 4) on 30th and 31st of July, 2022.
However, when she attempted to submit her application for participation through online mode, she was informed that transgender persons will not be allowed to participate in the competition.
The petitioner submitted that even after undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery, she had actively participated in various sports events at the University level in the transgender category. Relying on the decision in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India, (2014) 5 SCC 438, wherein the Supreme Court has recognised ‘transgender' as a Gender identity, she prayed that she be permitted to participate in her self-perceived gender category.
The petitioner contended that her self-perceived gender identity is woman and after having undergone the surgery, she has been on hormone therapy for almost 5 years.
The Court opined that a transgender person has an equal right to participate in competitions. Therefore, the Court held that in the absence of any category for participating transgender persons, the organisers have to permit the petitioner to participate in her chosen category.
Accordingly, respondents 3 and 4 were directed to accept the petitioner’s application and do the needful, if the time stipulated for submitting applications is not over. The Court added that if the application reaches respondents 3 and 4 within time, she shall be allowed to participate in the Championship provisionally and subject to the final outcome of this writ petition.
[Anamika v. State of Kerala, WP(C) No. 24571 of 2022, decided on 29-07-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Dhanuja M.S, Advocate, for the Petitioner;
Latha Anand, Advocate, for the Kerala Sports Council.
*Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.