The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 introduced in the Lok Sabha for consideration makes it feel like the government is doing a bit more than just saffronisation. Introduced by Social Justice Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot, the bill seeks to protect and work for the welfare of the transgender.
What Does The Bill Offer?
For a gender that has faced discrimination from time immemorial, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 aims to give recognition, identity, and rights to the third gender. The bill, if passed will be applicable throughout the country and will offer the following –
- Transgender will be able to claim equal education, service, and work. With welfare promises made in the bill, the government promises to work towards the inclusion of transgender in the society, their rescue, protection, and rehabilitation.
- The bill also intends to establish a National Council for Transgender that will advise the Central Government on policies and legislations for the betterment of the third gender. The Council will also evaluate the implementation of law, and coordinate with organizations that seem to work with the same objectives as this bill.
- A bitter section of the bill is the screening committee. The District Screening Committee will welcome applications for approval of gender identity. The District Magistrate, on the recommendation of the committee, will issue a ‘proof of recognition as a transgender’. Basically, every transgender will undergo a process before they can claim their rights.
Is A District Screening Committee Necessary?
It is interesting to note that apart from a medical officer, a social welfare officer, a psychologist and a representative of the Government, the District Screening Committee will have an obligatory representation of one person from the transgender community.
It is important to understand that the third gender co-exists with the other ‘normal’ genders, and their identity should not be constrained to government documentation. The screening committee will just drag the bill in the direction of being one that gives reservation to a particular class and promises to protect them in the same process. The methods that the screening committee will opt for has not been specified in the bill. If not monitored and given proper direction, this committee may even turn out to be another form of exploitation faced by the transgender.
Like two sides of a coin, this bill too has its ‘woos’ and ‘mehs’. The bill is a small but a great step towards the formation of a liberal society. Now, the only thing that stands between transgender and their ‘legally’ obtained rights is the votes of the Lok Sabha.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.