How to change name/gender in school/college documents in India?
Shutterstock/Gino Santa Maria/Person in photo is a model

How to change name or gender on mark sheets?

Akash, a transman, changed his gender and name but his school and college certificates still bear his birth name. Whenever he has to appear in a job interview, it becomes tough to prove that the documents are his. Can he change his name and gender on his mark sheets? Let's find out.

Why the need for this change? 

A person from the LGBTQ+ community might want to legally change their name and gender marker on school/college certificates due to one of the following reasons:

  1. To pursue higher studies (either in another school or college)
  2. To get a formal job with an organisation

If you identify as an LGBTQ+ person, you can legally change your name or gender marker on your school/college certificate/s. Although the process is a bit complicated on the ground, we have tried to explain the procedures in an easy manner here.

How to go about it? 

1. Name and gender change on school certificates (10th and 12th) 

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the State Board of Education have different procedures in place for a name change on school certificates for classes 10th and 12th.

CBSE procedure for change of name on school certificates:

According to Rule 69.1 of Examination Bye-Laws of CBSE, this is the process to be followed to change names on school mark sheets (10th and 12th):

• First you submit a written request for the desired name change.

• Provide an original copy of two newspapers in which your name has been changed.

• Attach an affidavit of the change, sworn in front of a First-Class Judicial Magistrate/ Metropolitan Magistrate/ Executive Magistrate/ or Sub Divisional Magistrate.

• Provide an original copy of the publication of change in the Gazette (Central or State).

Note: There is still a strong preference for Central Gazette Publication by the concerned authorities, although State Gazette Publication is equally valid. 

• Pay the prescribed fee.

• Get a copy of the admission form filled in by your parents, updated as per Gazette Notification and attested by the Principal (Head) of your school.

• Attach a copy of the School Leaving Certificate of the previous school, submitted by you or your parents when you were admitted (updated as per Gazette Notification and attested by the Head of your school).

• Provide a copy of the particular page of the admission and withdrawal register of the school, with the entry involving you (updated as per the Gazette Notification and attested by the Head of your school).

The CBSE officials handling the application process should provide you with a definite timeline for the completion of the process. Follow it up with the concerned official after the prescribed waiting time. 

Your application can get rejected due to various reasons ranging from— submission of wrong documents, missing documents, or the officials’ insistence in getting a court order for the requested change.

Please take the required re-course methods to get your name changed on your CBSE school certificate/s.  

Recently, the Supreme Court of India in its order directed the CBSE to allow name changes on school certificates for previous students who want to pursue higher studies or gain employment.

CBSE procedure for gender marker change on school certificates:

The process for Gender Change on school certificates for classes 10th and 12th issued by CBSE in India is still not laid out within a proper framework. The officials mostly refuse to make any gender marker changes to the certificates without the court’s approval. 

Applicants often file Public Interest Litigations (PILs) in courts to get a resolution to their problem related to gender change on school certificates in India. Courts are increasingly taking positive correction measures to make the environment as inclusive as possible for LGBTQ+ all over the country.

This is the prescribed procedure for a gender change on school certificates in India:

• Submit an application to your board of education.

• Attach an affidavit indicating your name/ gender change, and the Gazette Notification notifying the said change. Also, attach the associated part of the NALSA Judgement to the application.

Follow up with the concerned authority and take proceeding steps to get your updated school certificate with the desired gender marker change.

In a much-required intervention to make the process convenient for transgender persons in India, the Delhi court directed CBSE to help transgenders who want to legally change their names and genders on education records.

State Board procedure for the change of name on school certificates:

Every state board has a different set of procedures in place for legal name and gender change on school certificates for their students (both current and previous). 

The examples of Kerala and West Bengal are used here to illustrate the process.

State Education Board of Kerala Procedure:

• Submit your original certificate (10th and/or 12th), with an attested copy of the School-Leaving Certificate (SSLC) Mark list.

• Attach the application form of the board as recommended by the Principal of your school

• Attach a forwarding letter from your school Principal stating your details, and certifying that the correction was made in the School Admissions Register.

• Finally, attach a copy of the order issued by the Commission of Public Examinations.

State Education Board of West Bengal Procedure:

• Fill out and submit the correction forms of the West Bengal board.

Other State Boards: 

Other state boards have also undertaken measures or are in the process of applying the directives of the state courts to change name and gender marker in school records.

Allahabad HC, Madras HC and Karnataka HC came out in support of transgenders seeking to get their names and/or gender changed on school documents in India. 

[ This blog by Vakil Search gives out some important information about the name change on educational certificates in India.]

State board procedure for change of gender on school certificates:

Unfortunately, there is currently no uniform code to change gender markers on school certificates for various state boards in India. It is inconsistent with many boards refusing to change the requested gender changes without court orders.

The process prescribed under the CBSE procedure for gender marker change on school certificates may be undertaken as a first step towards it. If the results are unsatisfactory, then the help of court/s via filling PILs is recommended for a more concrete solution.

2. Name and gender change on college certificates: 

Every University, a Central or State one, has a different procedure in place to effect name and gender marker changes on college certificates in India. 

You would need to approach the administration department of your respective college to understand the procedure in place. It’s advised to connect with someone who has already gone through the process to understand and anticipate the roadblocks.

A piece of general advice by some lawyers is to first approach the professor (who is an ally) and through her/him/they reach out to the Principal of the institution. In case you face challenges while getting this done, reach out to the courts for legal support.

The courts in India have been increasingly making judgments in support of the LGBTQ+ requests about name and gender marker changes on college certificates. 

Part 3 of this series would talk about Personal Finance and Healthcare Policies for LGBTQ+ in India. 

You can also read Part 1 related to Legal Name and Gender Change on IDs for LGBTQ+ in India. 

To protect the identity, the person in the picture is a model and names have been changed. 

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