In a landmark verdict, Madras High Court has held that the term ‘bride’ as per the Hindu Marriage Act will also include a transwoman. Arun Kumar and Sreeja, a transwoman, got married on October 31, last year at a temple in Tuticorin. The couple had moved the court after the local registrar office to register the marriage on grounds that the couple did not meet the statutory requirement of the Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, as the term ‘bride’ can only refer to a ‘woman on her wedding day’.
Quashing the govt’s contention, Justice GR Swaminathan observed that the marriage solemnised between the couple was valid and the Registrar of Marriages was bound to register it.
“By holding so, this court is not breaking any new ground. It is merely stating the obvious. Sometimes, to see the obvious, one needs not only physical vision in the eye but also love in the heart,” the court said, according to The Hindu.
The court also directed the state government to issue an order banning sex reassignment surgeries on inter-sex infants and children.
Referring to a Supreme Court judgement, which upheld transgender persons’ right to decide their self-identified gender, the court observed that one must not be forced to undergo medical procedures as a requirement for legal recognition of their gender identity. It also asked govt to launch sustained awareness campaigns so that parents were encouraged to feel that the birth of an intersex child was not a matter of embarrassment or shame, Times of India reported
“Running away from the family to the margins and beyond is a fatal journey that must be arrested. Time has come when they are brought back from the margins into the mainstream. Parents must be encouraged to feel that the birth of an inter-sex child is not a matter of embarrassment or shame,” the court said.