In an unprecedented move, the Maharashtra government on Thursday said it had decided to permit a woman cop to undergo a sex-change operation and continue in the state police as a ‘policeman’.
“Yes, I have requested Director General of Police (Satish Mathur) to consider her case favourably,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told IANS.
Woman constable Lalita Kumari Salve, 28, had joined the Maharashtra Police in May 2010, and is currently serving in Majalgaon City police station in Beed district.
An official from the Chief Minister’s Office said that Fadnavis spoke to DGP Mathur late on Wednesday on the woman’s application for permission to continue in service after her sex-change operation, which was earlier rejected by the Home Department.
Following the rejection, Salve moved the Bombay High Court on Thursday against the state government.
Salve’s case has been debated on social media and police circles, with many supporting her desire for a new gender identity and to continue serving in the force.
Officials said the ticklish issue facing the government was the fact that she was selected in the women’s quota that specifies certain physical parameters different from those specified for male recruits, especially those pertaining to height and weight.
However, with Fadnavis inclined to support Salve’s case, officials are hopeful police authorities may consider certain concessions in the matter since it is an unusual and unprecedented case with wide ramifications on the issue of gender equality, discrimination and rights of sexual minorities.
Salve, who has already changed her name to ‘Lalit Kumar Salve’, moved the High Court through her lawyer Syed Ejaz Abbas Naqvi, challenging the Beed Superintendent of Police’s order of November 20 to reject her leave for sex-realignment surgery.