Inheritance rights of transgender persons in India

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This paper studies the inheritance rights of transgender persons in India. Using commercial databases (e.g., SCC and Manupatra), it examines the legal framework for inheritance and looks at all court decisions since 1950 that mention the term transgender. Inheritance laws are based on a binary notion of gender. They do not envisage transgender persons or a change in gender identity. This means that individuals must choose between conforming to their assigned gender or not availing their rights. Moreover, successors are often difficult to identify as individuals may lack documentation, could not marry, or cannot prove adoption. The Indian Constitution bars any discrimination based on sex and gender. Laws should not discriminate against transgender persons only because of their identities. Though courts attempt to address these challenges, they leave it to their subjective satisfaction on when to secure the rights of transgender persons. These are important issues that must be addressed through changes in the law.