(MENAFN- IANS) New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has been apprised that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has suggested to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) the formulation of a policy allowing individuals who undergo sex change surgery abroad to obtain a fresh passport seamlessly.
The MHA asserted that biometric records, which remain unchanged after such medical procedures, can serve as a means of identity verification.
This comes on a petition by a transgender person who had sought direction to have her passport reissued with her updated particulars, including her new name and gender.
The petitioner, who transitioned from male to female between 2016 and 2022 after relocating to the US, had submitted an application to the Indian authorities in January 2023 for a revised passport reflecting her updated details.
While the MEA acknowledged MHA's suggestion, it expressed the need for time to assess the proposal's technical feasibility and consult various stakeholders before finalising a policy.
Although the passport is issued to the petitioner now, the court directed the Centre to develop a policy facilitating individuals undergoing sex change operations abroad to obtain new passports without complications.
On November 7, senior panel counsel Farman Ali Magray, representing the MEA, apprised the court of two letters received from the Deputy Secretary (Immigration) and MEA.
The MHA, in the letter, said that the matter has been examined in consultation with the field agency and since the biometrics are not liable to change after one undergoes such medical procedures, a mechanism or policy may be developed by the MEA, as authorities already have the biometric records to verify their identity before issuance of new passports.
A letter from the concerned embassy addressed to the Bureau of Immigration to facilitate immigration clearance in such cases, is also required to avoid any confusion at the Immigration Check Post, it said.
The MEA, in its letter, said the BOI (MHA) is in agreement with the MEA that if a person undergoes a sex change operation abroad and due to that operation there is a change in name, sex, as well as appearance of that person, and the details in the old passport do not match with the changes, then such person may apply for re-issuance of passport at concerned Indian Mission/Post abroad.
A fresh passport may be issued to such a person upon furnishing prescribed documents and receipt of a clear police report, it said.
Justice Subramonium Prasad has scheduled consideration of the matter for December 19.
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