Vihaan Peethambar v. Manipal University & Others


Recently, the Karnataka High Court made a strong impression on educational institutions, directing them to consider transgender people’s requests for name and gender modifications on their degree certificates rather than requiring them to go to court.

Following notification to the Court that other applications of this nature are still pending before educational institutions, Justice Ravi V. Hosmani made the observation. 

“Since it is brought to notice of this Court that there are innumerable such instances awaiting consideration before Universities/Educational Institutions, it is observed that would be appropriate for said authorities to process applications for change of name and gender upon receipt of requests keeping in mind ratio laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court in NLSA’s case (supra) and this Court in Christina Lobo’s case (supra) instead of driving all applicants to Court for securing directions,” Justice Hosmani stated.

A transman was requesting that his name and gender be changed on a new master’s degree certificate, and the court was considering his case.

In addition, a directive to colleges to amend transgender students’ degree certificates based on their applications was requested in the plea.

One Vihaan Peethambar filed the case, requesting that Manipal University alter his name and gender on his college diploma following surgery to reassign his gender in 2015. Manipal University denied this request, citing the fact that such modifications could only be made shortly after the degree certificate was issued.

Peethambar, therefore, filed a relief motion with the High Court. He argued that decisions made by the High Court in Christina Lobo v. State of Karnataka and the Supreme Court in National Legal Services Authority vs. Union of India and Others already addressed the issue.

In response, Manipal University and the State informed the court that after the petitioner delivered the original mark cards and degree certificate, his request might be considered in light of the NALSA ruling.

The petitioner has already changed his name and gender on his bachelor’s degree diploma and other public records, the court found while evaluating the case. 

Regarding the master’s degree, the court permitted the petitioner to submit a representation to the Manipal University Registrar within a month, together with his original mark card and degree certificate.

The Court ruled that respondent no. 1—The university—must consider taking action within four weeks of receiving the same, in accordance with the ratio established by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the cases of NLSA (above) and Christina Lobo (supra).

Adv. Khanak Sharma

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