Lok Sabha passes Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016

The Lok Sabha has passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, which seeks to empower the transgender community in the country by providing them a separate identity. The bill which was introduced in the parliament two years ago has been passed with 27 amendments.
The primary objective of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, is to define transgenders and prohibit discrimination against the transgender community.

Main Highlights of the Bill

  • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 Bill defines a transgender person as one who is partly female or male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male. Additionally, the bill states that the person’s gender must not match the assigned gender at birth.
  • Every transgender person in the country must obtain an identity certificate which will be used as the proof of recognition of identity as a transgender person and to avail all the rights under the Bill.
  • The identity certificate would be granted by the District Magistrate on the recommendation of a Screening Committee.
  • The screening committee for recommending the certificate would comprise a medical officer, a psychologist or psychiatrist, a district welfare officer, a government official, and a transgender person.
  • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 prohibits discriminating with transgender people in education, employment, healthcare and other areas
  • The Bill directs the central and state governments for providing welfare schemes to the Transgender community in these areas.
  • The Bill also provides for the punishment of up to two years’ imprisonment and a fine for offences like compelling a transgender person to beg, denial of access to a public place, physical and sexual abuse, etc.

The Supreme Court in its recent judgement has held that the right to self-identification of gender is part of the right to dignity and autonomy and comes under Article 21 of the Constitution.   However, it is important to adopt an objective criteria to determine one’s gender in order to become eligible for entitlements.

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