Whether Eunuch are Recognised as Legal Entity in India

21 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2008 Last revised: 24 Mar 2009

Date Written: November 10, 2008


There are about 1.2 million eunuchs residing in India. They are deprived of various human rights like right to vote, stand in election, right to marry, hold ration cards etc. They are deprived of such rights because India recognizes only two sex i.e. male and females and so eunuch being third sex is deprived of exercising their rights as all rights are available only to male and females. However, when it comes to criminal liability, they cannot escape punishment because Court always includes them either under male or female. But as far as civil rights are concerned they fail to exercise that as courts do not consider them as legal entity.

Constitution of India provides various rights to "persons." Person means artificial and natural person. Natural person include all human being. But naturally eunuch are also person. However, two articles of constitution of India i.e article 15 and 16 uses the word sex. So, these two rights can not be exercised by eunuch as sex is narrowly interpreted by the court as to include only male and female. The interpretation of sex in a narrow way has not allowed eunuch to exercise their basic human rights. They are not allowed to vote as in voting list there exist only two category i.e male and female.

This view of Court is contrary to the intention of the legislature. Before Independence, government of India has formed an act to regulate the activities of the eunuch. This shows that they are legal entity. Also in all the statute where ever the word person is defined, it has never specifically mention that eunuch are excluded. So, the narrow interpretation of word sex by the Courts in India, is unjust and unfair and violates human rights of the eunuch.

Research Questions * Whether eunuch are recognized legal entity; * Whether they are recognized as a third sex or are recognized into the category of male and female; * Whether they can contest elections; * Whether they can be punished for any crime commited * Whether they can exercise their civil right i.e fundamental rights.

Keywords: eunuch, constitition of india, human rights, legal entity

JEL Classification: Z10

Suggested Citation

Sharma, Sharda Girijesh, Whether Eunuch are Recognised as Legal Entity in India (November 10, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1299010 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1299010

Sharda Girijesh Sharma (Contact Author)

P.G Dept. of Law, Patna University ( email )

Ashok RaJ Path
old pATNA
Patna, Bihar 800001

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