Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment issues recommendations on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016

Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment issues recommendations on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016

August 29, 2017 Industry Specific 0

The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (“Committee”) has submitted a report on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 (“Bill”) dated July 21, 2017.

Background

With a view to mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against the marginalized section of the transgender community and make them part of the mainstream of society, the Lok Sabha had introduced the Bill on August 2, 2016. Subsequently, the Bill was referred to the Standing Committee for analysis in September, 2016.

The Bill defines ‘transgender persons’ as:

(i)            neither wholly female or male; or

(ii)          a combination of female and male; or

(iii)         neither female nor male.

The bill also stipulates that a person’s gender need not match the gender assigned at the time of birth. It further clarifies that transgender persons includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations and gender-queers.

Observations and Recommendations in the Report

The Committee has provided the following recommendations on the Bill:

(i)            Need for revision of the definition of ‘transgender persons’– The Committee has noted that the definition of transgender persons in the Bill does not comply with global paradigm and does not acknowledge the right to self-determined gender identity. This adversely affects a significant part of the transgender population – especially pre-op/non-op transmen and transwomen, trans people who cannot or do not wish to undergo surgical interventions, gender fluid, gender neutral, and inter-gender persons.

Moreover, transgender persons will be given an option to choose for being identified as ‘man’, ‘woman’ or ‘transgender’ irrespective of Sex Reassignment Surgery (“SRS”) and hormonal therapy.

(ii)              Sensitization of employers– The Committee has recommended the necessity of a separate provision mandating directions for undertaking specific measures such as counselling, career guidance and sensitizing employers regarding concerns of transgender persons.

The Committee has also highlighted that certain provisions of a Private Member Bill, such as incentives to employers in private sector, special employment exchanges and National and State Commissions for Transgender Persons have been excluded from the purview of the Bill.

(iii)           Process of certification as a transgender person– The Bill requires a transgender person to obtain a certificate of identity, issued by the District Magistrate designating such person’s gender as ‘transgender’. A revised certificate may be obtained if there is any subsequent change in gender. The Committee has recommended that this certificate should designate identity only as ‘transgender’, rather than ‘male’ or ‘female’. Accordingly, the provision for revised certificate has been recommended to be removed.

(iv)          Offences and penalties- While the Bill has specified a penalty of six months to two years’ imprisonment with a fine. The Committee has recommended the necessity of graded punishment for various offences on the basis on the gravity of the offence.

The Committee has observed that the Bill seeks to penalize a person who forces a Transgender Person to leave household, village or other place of residence and has highlighted the necessity to similarly penalize an instance of a transgender being forced to leave a job.

(v)          Other recommendations– The Standing Committee recommended incorporation of other provisions, some of which are as follows:

  1. Addition of the definition of the term ‘persons with intersex variations’ which should include people having dissimilarities in their sexual characteristics;
  2. Providing for reservations of transgender persons under the category of socially and educationally backward classes; and
  3. Acknowledgement of certain civil rights like marriage, partnership, divorce and adoption.

For further details, please refer to the attached report.

Source: Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

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