Surega, a trans woman, and Manikandan, a cis man, got married in February 2018, but are yet to get a registration certificate.

Coimbatore trans woman blocked from registering her wedding approaches Collector
news Law Wednesday, January 29, 2020 - 12:46

For 24-year-old Surega, a Coimbatore-based transgender woman, getting to marry the man she loves was an easier task than obtaining a marriage certificate, which gives legal validity to their marriage. Tired of running from pillar to post since she and Manikandan got married, the couple finally has approached the District Collector with a plea to help them get their marriage registered.

Surega and Manikandan (25) got married on February 14, 2018, at a Mariamman temple in Coimbatore. “I don’t have parents and we had to convince his parents to agree to this wedding. They are good people and agreed to us getting married,” she tells TNM. Surega is a milk vendor, while Manikandan drives an auto rickshaw.

Like most couples, the duo went to the Registrar’s office inside the Collectorate campus in Coimbatore immediately after their wedding to get it registered. “We both submitted all the documents needed for the official to register the marriage. But he didn’t. Instead, he gave us an objection certificate without stating any reason,” she explains.

In fact, the couple also brought up the landmark August 2019 judgment of the Madras High court, that held a marriage between a man and a trans Woman as valid and said that the authorities must register it under section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act. However, this failed to move the officials in their favour.

On January 21, Manikandan filed an online application with the Sub-Registrar’s office in Vadavalli, Coimbatore to get the marriage registered. However, the next day, he received a rejection from the office stating that there is no provision for a trans woman to be a bride as per the Hindu Marriages Act, 1955. “The word Bride as found in section 5(iii) literally means as woman who has just married or is going to be married. The word transgender finds no place in the Act,” reads the letter from the sub-registrar.

“All I wanted was to get our marriage registered so that we can be an example to other trans women to show that leading a normal life is possible. But it looks like it is not possible under the law. Aren’t we sufficient citizens to grant us that right?” Surega asks.

“Even to adopt a baby later on or to buy a property jointly, this document is the foundation. I want to lead a normal life like other married women, with dignity and respect. Why am I being denied this basic right?” asks Surega.

The couple, on Monday, presented a petition to the Coimbatore Collector, requesting his intervention in the matter. TNM has reached out to the District Collector of Coimbatore, the article will be updated as and when TNM gets a response. 

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