HC clears way for Bidhan's sex-change surgery

HC clears way for Bidhan's sex-change surgery

Union and state government did not object to the operation

The Bombay High Court on Monday gave its nod to the sex-change surgery of the 21-year-old gender dysphoric Bidhan Barua of Guwahati.

Maintaining that neither the Union nor the state government has any objection to Barua undergoing the surgery, a division bench of justices  S J Vajifdar and A R Joshi said: “There is no law that prohibits the same. The petitioner is 21 years old and thus a major. And an adult has a right to take a decision pertaining to one's life-style or one's gender perception.”

Besides, the court also directed the Colaba police station to “provide details” on the alleged threats faced by Barua. “If police finds that the threat perception is serious then it would provide necessary protection,” the bench said.

Soon after the commencement of court proceedings on Monday, the counsels for the state and the Union governments submitted that they had no objection to Barua’s sex-change surgery.

Last week, distressed by the surmounting pressure over the impending surgery from his parents and no favourable verdict from the court, Barua, who calls himself Swati, threatened to commit suicide.

He came to Mumbai last month to undergo the surgery at the Saifee Hospital and subsequently marry a flight lieutenant with the Indian Air Force.

 Getting to know of their son’s intentions, Barua’s parents rushed to Mumbai to dissuade him from going under the knife.

Barua then filed a petition in the High Court, detailing the ordeals and dilemma he has gone through since childhood after discovering his orientation.

The petition also said he had started doing odd jobs since schooldays to accumulate funds for the surgery that costs anything between Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. He even underwent a psychiatric gender profiling test before leaving for Mumbai.

However, Barua’s plans were thwarted after his parents froze his bank accounts, leaving him in a state of penury, which the petition contended “was a transgression of fundamental rights.”

He had also wrote to the chief justice of India, chief justice of the Bombay High Court and the National Human Rights Commission, urging them to intervene immediately.

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