Sunday, August 10, 2014

Gender change legalities

Advice - Rights and Laws, Aug '14
By Kaushik Gupta

Reader queries

I am a female-to-male transgender person living in Kolkata. I am a central government employee. I wish to legally change my gender from the existing female to male. In view of the Supreme Court judgement of April 15, 2014, what are the steps to be taken by me for the same?
ST, Kolkata

Dear ST

A person looking for a legal change in their gender needs an affidavit. For the affidavit, a lawyer should be approached who will first draft an affidavit incorporating all the necessary facts about the person concerned. Thereafter the affidavit will be filed before the appropriate magistrate. The person concerned may be required to be present and the magistrate may ask basic questions about the person’s name, address and the like. If satisfied with the bona fide, the magistrate will pass an appropriate order on the gender change.

Please note, in view of the Supreme Court judgement on transgender identities and rights in April this year, there is no requirement of undergoing sexual reassignment surgery for the purpose of gender change.

See also More on Gender Change Legalities in the January 2015 issue of Varta.

Kaushik Gupta is a lawyer by profession, a photographer by passion, and happy to answer your queries on legal matters around gender and sexuality. Write in your queries to, and they will be answered with due respect to confidentiality.


  1. That's really informative.

    I'm little lost about how to apply for Voter ID and PAN for changing the same after that, submitting affidavit to change name and gender on the IDs would be enough?

    1. @ Sourya:

      For changes to be made in the voter ID you can approach the Election Commission of India having its office at Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi-110001 (Tel: 011-23717391 Fax: 011-23713412) by filling up the requisite form, which, in this case, is Form 8. You can do so online at . There is an option for selecting the gender too.

      With regard to PAN card you can approach the INCOME TAX PAN SERVICES UNIT (Managed by NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited), 5th floor, Mantri Sterling, Plot No. 341, Survey No. 997/8, Model Colony, Near Deep Bungalow Chowk, Pune - 411016 or you can contact them through their website at for necessary changes.

      If any of the authorities refuse your prayer, you can move the concerned High Court of your State by filing a Writ petition.

      Hope that helps.

    2. Thanks for the details.

      Is there any possibility to change birth certificate?
      If the voter and pan department ask for original affidavit, instead of the copy. What to do in that case, can we make more than one affidavit (with diff affidavit number) to submit?

    3. @ Sourya:

      In my opinion, the birth certificate can not be changed. It shows the identity of the person I was born as. The affidavit is a supporting document along with the birth certificate to prove that I have changed from what I was born as.

      The departments should not ask for the original. They should act on a self attested copy of the original. But if they do, then at the time of making the affidavit you can get a few 'True copies' attested in the same go.