New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Monday passed a Bill which provides a mechanism for social, economic and educational empowerment of transgender persons.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 was passed by a voice vote amid noisy protests by some opposition parties over Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury not being allowed to speak on his adjournment notice.
The Bill was introduced on July 19.
Replying on the Bill, Minister of State for Social Justice Ratanlal Kataria said it makes provision for establishing a national authority for safeguarding rights of transgender persons.
Previously, activists from trans communities had called for the full text of the Bill to be made available and had demanded that inputs and suggestions from the community be sought and incorporated into the Bill.
Activists highlighted the fact that their concerns about the new Bill promulgated by the government stemmed from the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018, which was tabled in parliament but lapsed after it could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018 criminalised begging, a chief source of income for several members of the trans community who are unable to obtain employment. The 2018 Bill also stipulated a punishment of only up to two years for sexual violence against a trans person as opposed to seven years of imprisonment for sexual violence against non-trans women.
In addition, a crucial demand of the activists for reservation and affirmative action was not incorporated into the 2018 version of the Bill. The Supreme Court took note of this issue of the discrimination faced by members of the trans community in its 2014 NALSA judgement and called for affirmative action measures. The Bill also mandated the imposition of screening committees and stripped members of the trans community of the right to self-determination of their gender identity.
Members of the trans community also opposed the provision in the 2018 Bill that required members of the community to reside with their birth family or be placed at a rehabilitation centre.
(With inputs from PTI)