• THE LOK Sabha passed the Bill to give transgender persons equal rights and protection under the law through a voice vote on Monday, even as Opposition parties continued to create a ruckus in the House over the Rafale deal and Cauvery dispute.
• The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, was passed with 27 amendments introduced by the government.
• The amendments suggested by Opposition members were rejected.
Key highlights of this introduced bill
• The Bill was first introduced in the Lok Sabha in August 2016, following which it was sent to a 31-member parliamentary standing committee.
• The amendments passed on Monday include a change in the previous definition of transgender persons as “neither wholly female or wholly male”, which was criticised as being insensitive.
• The new definition terms a transgender person as one “whose gender does not match the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-men or trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons having socio-cultural identities such as kinnar, hijras, aravani and jogta”.
• Several civil society groups of transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming individuals have been vocal about their opposition to the Bill, which disregards many of their suggestions as also some of the crucial points raised by the standing committee report of July 2017.
• This includes the right of transgender persons to self-identification, instead of being certified by a district screening committee.
The panel suggestion
• The panel had also pointed out that the Bill is silent on granting reservations to transgender persons.
• The Supreme Court, in the landmark April 2014 NALSA judgment, had issued a directive “to extend all kinds of reservations in cases of admission in educational institutions and for public appointments” by treating transgender persons as socially and educationally backward classes.
• They were to be given reservations under the 27 per cent OBC quota, a suggestion that was also endorsed by the National Commission for Backward Classes in its recommendations to the Social Justice Ministry in 2014.
Mains Paper 2: Governance | Mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections
Prelims level: Definition of Trans-gender
Mains level: Upholding fundamental as well as human rights of the transgender community