Woman cop awaits govt nod for sex-change surgery

Mumbai: A 29-year-old woman police constable from Maharashtra’s Beed district, who met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, is awaiting the state government’s permission to undergo a sex change surgery.

Beed woman constable Lalita Salve wants to undergo a sex change surgery.

Lalita Salve, who now prefers to be called Lalit, had last month sought the chief minister’s intervention.

She said her application has been forwarded to the state Director General of Police (DGP).

“I met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on March 21 in connection with my case. He assured me that the matter will be resolved on an urgent basis,” Salve, who is posted at the Majalgaon Police Station in Beed, told PTI.

“I am sure that I will get a positive response from the government,” she said.

Salve had earlier approached the state police department to allow her leave to undergo the sex-change surgery.

The police department had turned down her plea as the eligibility criteria for men and women constables are different, including height and weight.

In November last year, she had moved the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to the Maharashtra DGP to grant her leave to undergo the surgery.

She had sought leave for a month to undergo the sex reassignment surgery, but the request was refused by Beed police authorities, following which she approached the HC.

However, the high court had directed her to approach the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal since it was a service matter.

“I have sought permission for the sex change surgery, leave for the procedure and to be in service as a male police constable after the surgery,” she said.

“I consulted doctors at the state-run J J hospital in Mumbai for the sex reassignment surgery. They also told me to get permission of the police department,” Salve said.

“Now, I am waiting for the official permission from the government,” she said.

A senior police official said since this was a “rarest of the rare” case, there should be a policy decision.

“So, we referred her case to the government and are hopeful of a positive response,” he said.

Salve’s uncle Arjun Ujagare also said that they were waiting for a go ahead from the state government.

“After her meeting with the chief minister, we are hopeful and sure that Lalita will get the official permission for surgery, allowed leave for the medical procedure and that she will be retained in the police force as a male constable,” Ujagare said.

Salve, born in June 1988, noticed changes in her body about four years ago and underwent medical tests, which confirmed the presence of Y chromosome in her body, according to her petition filed in the high court.

While men have X and Y sex chromosomes, women have two X chromosomes.

Salve later undertook counselling sessions with psychiatrists at the J J Hospital.

The doctors detected that she had a gender dysphoria abnormality and advised her to undergo a sex reassignment surgery, if she was willing to and was of sound mind, as per her petition.

Subsequently, Salve approached senior police officials and sought a month’s medical leave to undergo the surgery.