The parliamentary panel examining the Transgender Bill has invited public suggestions with an aim to involve the community in making of the law which seeks to protect their rights. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, which seeks to define the term transgender and prohibits discrimination against the community, was introduced in the Lok Sabha in the Monsoon Session.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan later referred the Bill, as introduced in the Lower House, to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment for examining it. The Bill was referred to the committee amid criticism from a section of the transgender community.
“Considering the wider implications of the proposed legislation for protection of the rights of transgender persons and for an in-depth study of the proposals in the bill, the standing committee decided to invite suggestions… from the public in general and from NGOs … stakeholders and Institutions in particular …,” according to a Lok Sabha statement.
The Bill confers the right upon transgender persons to be recognised as such and also grants them the right to “self-perceived” gender identity. It provides for grievance redress mechanism within each establishment to ensure rights of transgenders are protected and they are insulated from harassment or discrimination.
The measures envisaged under it provide for jail term for a minimum of six months to a maximum of two years with a fine for those found guilty of using transgender people for bonded labour or for begging. Also, those who deny them any basic right or force them out of their homes or villages will be handed down similar punishment.
According to the 2011 Census, India has six lakh people belonging to the transgender community. The community is among the most marginalised in the country because they don’t fit into the categories of the two recognised genders of men and women.
They face issues ranging from social exclusion and discrimination to lack of education and medical facilities, and unemployment.