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No law prevents an adult from undergoing sex change surgery: HC

Mumbai: Observing that there is no law that can prohibit an adult from taking decisions pertaining to his life, the Bombay High Court today gave its nod to Guwahati student Bhidan Bharua to undergo sex change surgery.

The court said both, the Union and state government has no objection to the surgery.

"There is no law which prohibits the same. The petitioner (Bhidan) is 21 years old and hence a major and can take decisions for himself," a division bench of justices S J Vazifdar and A R Joshi observed.

 No law prevents an adult from undergoing sex change surgery: HC

The petitioner had earlier said he would commit suicide if not allowed to undergo the surgery. Representational image. Reuters

Advocate Advait Sethna, appearing for the Union government and government pleader Madhu Kajale told the court that they have no objection to the surgery. Bhidan, who claims that he is a woman trapped in a man's body, had approached the high court seeking his parents be restrained from stopping the operation.

According to Bhidan, his parents are against the sex change operation and have been threatening him.

"The court need not order a person not to cause harm to another individual. It is the job of the police to see to it that no harm is caused," the court said.

The bench has directed Bhidan to file an application before the Colaba police station and the commissioner of police giving details of the threat faced by him.

"Police shall consider the application and if any threat is perceived to the petitioner then they shall provide necessary protection," Justice Vazifdar said.

When the court refused to hear the matter, Bhidan had written a letter to the Chief Justice of the high court threatening to commit suicide if his matter was not heard and decided expeditiously.

Following the letter, the bench had summoned his lawyer and warned him and his client against indulging in such "pressure tactics".

Referring to the letter, Justice Vazifdar today said,"Next time your client wants any relief, he has to come to the court of law and should not go anywhere else."

In his petition, Bhidan, who calls himself Swati, alleged that his parents had thwarted the sex reassignment surgery which was to be performed at Saifee Hospital here on 17 April.

He had claimed that his parents threatened doctors who had refused to perform the operation unless the High Court gives a go-ahead.

Bhidan had contended in his application that he wants to undergo the operation to marry his partner, a flight lieutenant in the Indian Air Force.

Bhidan contended that he realised early in life that he was born in the wrong sex and preferred to dress like girls.

This angered his parents who ill-treated him and beat him up, he alleged.

Bhidan said it was in Class VII that he learnt through the Internet that medical science could provide a remedy to his problem through a sex change procedure and he decided to go for it. He did odd jobs after school hours to earn money for the operation, which would cost him anywhere between Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh.

On 2 March, Bhidan underwent a psychiatric test in Guwahati to check whether he was fit enough to undergo such a procedure. As the result was positive, he ran away from home on 31 March and came to Mumbai where he stayed with a cousin. However, his father Supti Ranjan Barua traced him to Mumbai.


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Updated Date: May 07, 2012 13:12:17 IST