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UP board, media houses breach the right to privacy of gender non-conforming person: Allahabad HC takes action

[A photograph from an HRLN meeting on transgender rights. Despite slow progress in the rights of gender non-conforming people, they are still some of the most discriminated against demographic in the country. Image for representation]
Date : 09/08/2018

The UP unit of HRLN filed a petition on behalf of a gender non-conforming person who suffered a breach of privacy at the hands of UP Board officials and certain media houses.

In 2011, the petitioner had graduated from high school in Lucknow bearing a male name and mention of gender on the mark sheet. Four years later, in 2015, the petitioner was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by two certified psychiatrists and after a consultation with an endocrinologist, she began gender transition therapy and sexual reassignment surgery (SRS). With the certificate of the surgery, in 2017, she also published a public notice in a newspaper and also a Gazette notification stating her changed name and gender. She also got an Aadhaar card with her new identity. She then approached the UP Board to change her gender (to female) and name on her high school mark sheet.

However, a board official allegedly concocted a story that the petitioner was a rape victim and passed on this fake information to the media. Some media houses then, without due care and consent of the petitioner, revealed her identity along with the fake information in online and print, as a result of which, she suffered great mental trauma. Having suffered an irreparable loss of reputation among her family members and peers, she also became suicidal – all because of the imprudent, careless and insensitive act of the UP board official and the media.

In its petition on the behalf of the petitioner, HRLN alleged that these disclosures were in violation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and had caused serious injuries to her privacy. The petition prayed that the court direct appropriate action against the responsible persons and suitable compensation for the petitioner.

In response, the court issued notices to the State of UP and the other respondents. It also directed the registry to not print the name of the petitioner in the cause list to protect her privacy. The petition has now been titled X vs State of UP and others.

Read the most recent court order here.

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