Polity and Governance

Rights of Transgender Persons Bill

Rights of Transgender Persons Bill
The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 is a proposed Act of the Indian Parliament aimed at ending the discrimination faced by transgender people in India. The Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 24th April 2015. It was introduced by DMK leader Tiruchi Siva, who argued that 29 nations across the world have laws regarding transgender rights. He pointed out that transgender people in India have the right to vote, but face various kinds of discrimination in their daily lives. The bill was unanimously passed by the Rajya Sabha, and it was welcomed by the LGBTQIA+ community. It is considered historic as it is the first private member's bill to be passed by any house in 36 years. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 26th February 2016 by BJD leader Baijayant Panda. It seeks to recognize transgender persons, and confer anti-discriminatory rights and entitlements related to education, employment, health, and welfare measures. What are the highlights of the bill? •The Bill defines a transgender person as one who is partly female or male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male. The person’s gender may not match the gender assigned at birth and includes trans-men, trans-women, persons with intersex variations and gender-queer people. •A transgender person must obtain a certificate of identity as proof of recognition of identity as a transgender person and invoke their rights under the Bill. •This certificate would be granted by the District Magistrate on the recommendation of a Screening Committee. The Committee would comprise a medical officer, a psychologist or psychiatrist, a district welfare officer, a government official, and a transgender person. •The Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person in education, employment, and healthcare. It directs the central and state governments to provide welfare schemes for transgender people. •Offenses like compelling a transgender person to beg, denial of access to a public place, physical and sexual abuse, etc. would attract up to two years’ imprisonment and a fine. What are the criticisms of the bill? Several LGBTQIA+ activists have highlighted some issues with the bill. Which can be explained as follows: •The Supreme Court has ruled that the right to self-identification of gender is part of the right to dignity and autonomy under Article 21 of the Constitution. Objective criteria may be required to determine one’s gender in order to be eligible for entitlements. •The Bill states that a person recognized as ‘transgender’ would have the right to ‘self-perceived’ gender identity, but it makes no provisions for the enforcement of such a right. •The definition of ‘transgender persons’ in the Bill is not the same as the definitions recognized by international bodies and experts in India. •The Bill includes terms like ‘trans-men’, ‘trans-women’, persons with ‘intersex variations’ and ‘gender-queers’ in its definition of transgender persons, without defining them clearly. It s not clear how such laws would apply to transgender persons who may not identify as male or female. •The Bill also does not provide for reservations for transgender people. The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 2018 with 27 amendments. The definition of transgender was revised and the reference to a ‘neither male nor female’ formulation was scrapped, and it covered any person whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth, as well as transmen, transwomen, those with intersex variations, the gender-queer, and those who designate themselves based on identities such as hijra, aravani, kinner and jogta. The need to go through a screening committee to get a revised certificate after a transgender has sex reassignment surgery has been omitted, but the requirement of medical certification has not been changed.
Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/centre-to-reintroduce-transgender-bill-with-changes-suggested-by-mps-panel-and-rights-groups/story-V3waQoU4kEdeJl6iJHnydL.html

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