Home/ Politics / Policy/  NGO highlights lacunae in Bill for transgenders’ rights protection

New Delhi: With the Transgender Persons (protection of rights) Bill, 2016 receiving approval from the Union Cabinet, one would have thought that socio-economic and identity crises faced by transgenders in India might be over.

However, this is not the case as the Bill suffers from several shortcomings.

“We welcome the Bill but would like to point out that it has been rushed through without much deliberation and is silent on various vital issues that affect transgenders in India," said Dr Saampurna Behura, head of socio-legal initiative, ReachLaw, at a press conference that highlighted the shortcomings in the Bill.

The first among these was the procedure sought to be adopted for identification of transgenders under the Bill. It makes a provision for a district screening committee led by a district magistrate to certify a person’s third gender identity which was found unacceptable by members in the discussion.

Rooting for an enabling procedure for identification, Behura said that the issue of identification was not the problem, but the method being adopted certainly would be as it was insensitive.

Nish Gulur, trans woman, activist and advocacy officer of Sangama, said that the definition of the transgender was not at par with the precedents laid down by the Supreme Court as under the current definition the usage of the phrases like “"transgender person" has been categorized as— (a) neither wholly female nor wholly male; or (b) a combination of female or male; or (c) neither female nor male. This by itself was both “inappropriate and derogatory", according to Gulur.

It was observed that crucial issues affecting the large transgender population in India such as infliction of violence by families, police, lack of availability of a complaint mechanism etc. had not been incorporated in the Bill.

Behura stated that they (ReachLaw and Sangama, a Bangalore-based LGBT rights group), had even envisaged amendments in Indian Penal Code (IPC) to cover cases of sexual assault on transgender persons, and criminal and disciplinary action against delinquent police officials in cases of violations of human rights of transgender persons.

Another important issue which had been ignored was the exclusion of transgender communities—each with its own set of beliefs, practises etc. as opposed to recognition of only a transgender individual under the Bill.

The Bill, passed by the Union cabinet on 20 July, seeks to redress the inequities and rights violations faced by India’s transgender communities and empower them under the law.

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Updated: 22 Aug 2016, 07:41 PM IST
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