The legislation is similar to the private member’s bill passed in 2015 which provides and protects the rights for transgender persons
GN Bureau | July 21, 2016
A year after Rajya Sabha, in a rather unprecedented move, had passed a private member’s bill on the rights of transgender persons, the government has finally cleared a bill to protect their rights and also empower the marginalised community.
The proposed law - The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 – which was passed by the union cabinet on Wednesday, is expected to benefit transgender persons in getting employment and jobs and also fighting the discrimination and social stigma and abuse.
The bill has provision of jail for minimum six months for those found harassing transgender persons. The maximum punishment is two years. Government said it will also lead to their inclusiveness.
The bill proposes that transgender persons be included in the OBC category in case they are not listed as scheduled caste or schedule tribe.
The bill, which is framed along the lines of the The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014, which was moved by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva in 2015 and passed by the Rajya sabha, is drafted by the social justice ministry.
READ: Rights of transgender: Let me be ‘me’
This was the first time in more than 40 years that a private members’ bill had been passed by the house.
In April 2014, the supreme court had granted third gender status to transgenders following a petition filed by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). By virtue of this decision, all identity documents, including birth certificate, passport, ration card and driving licence, would recognise the third gender. This also includes the right to marry each other, adopt, divorce, succession, inheritance and right to benefits under welfare programmes such as MGNREGA.
In July 2016, the apex court ruled that its 2014 NALSA judgement cannot be applied to lesbians, gays and bisexuals. “There is no confusion. The judgement had clearly stated that lesbians, gays and bisexuals do not fall under the category of the third gender. Only transgenders fall under the category as per the supreme court order,” the court said.
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