Constable Also Moves HC For Right To Privacy

Mumbai: A day after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ nudge, state police chief Satish Mathur said on Thursday he will re-examine 29-year-old Lalita Salve’s request to be considered a male constable after a sex change operation.

Lalita, the woman constable from Beed whose application was earlier rejected by the police department, also moved the Bombay high court on Thursday.

Her lawyer Ejaz Naqvi mentioned her plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and said her fundamental right to life and privacy was at stake. The case was sent to a bench of Justices S S Kemkar and Girish Kulkarni, which Naqvi plans to move on Friday with her plea for permission to allow her to undergo sex reassignment surgery and continue in the police force.

Born Lalita Salve, the constable posted in Beed got her name ‘notarised’ as Lalit last month. In September, she sought a month’s leave for the surgery. The police denied her permission on November 20, citing that she would fall two centimeters short in height for a male constable. When she qualified as a woman recruit, her height was appropriate.

Her petition says all she wants is a “respectable life with family around her”. She questioned the “discrimination’’ by the police force in barring her from embracing a gender of her choice.

She said she had developed “transsexual symptoms’’ over three years and was attracted towards people of the same gender. A ‘Y’ chromosomal status in her genes led to her state of “social stigma” as she lived with the mental trauma of knowing she was trapped in a wrong body. With the department not supporting her even after medical tests showed she was suffering from ‘gender dysphoria type abnormality’, she set out to treat it herself. Doctors advised her to undergo a sex reassignment surgery and her plea is for judicial intervention to help her out, said her petition.

CM Devendra Fadnavis intervened on Wednesday and asked the home department to consider her case as an exception. He accepted that there were technical and legal issues, but said he was confident they could be resolved so that Salve could fulfill her wish. The recruitment criteria for male and female candidates are different (like height), but the CM has strongly hinted that certain criteria be waived for Lalita.

(With inputs from S Ahmed Ali)

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