April,24,2015: The Rajya Sabha on Friday unanimously passed a private member’s bill, after a gap of 45 years, which protects and provides a number of rights for trangender persons while guaranteeing them reservations in education and jobs, financial aid and social inclusion.
The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill paves the way for a law on the matter, in the near future. The government assured the House that it would bring an updated bill in Lok Sabha. Top sources in the government later told The Hinduthat while the government “accepts the spirit and sentiment of the bill, it has infirmities that need to be removed.”
A Union Minister said the government will bring a fresh bill “after removing the impractical clauses” but refused to give a timeline. The Minister added that the Bill in its current form, as tabled by DMK member Tiruchi Siva, has aspects that concern at least nine different Ministries. “The synergy has to be worked out,” it was added. The government had initially asked Mr. Siva to withdraw his Bill but he refused to relent. “The government tried to explain that there are some anomalies in the Bill that need further work, but the Opposition that has a majority in the House [Rajya Sabha] did not accept the government's assurance of bringing in some more provisions in the Bill. There is a need for more inter-ministerial consultation," said an official of the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry. “The issue is also in the Supreme Court, so we cannot say much,” he added.
Mr. Siva’s Bill has 58 clauses in 10 chapters dealing with different aspects ranging from social inclusion, rights and entitlements, financial and legal aid, education, skill development to prevention of abuse, violence and exploitation. “There is a need for a national commission for transgender persons with statutory powers on the lines of other such national commissions. While the Tamil Nadu and West Bengal governments formed welfare boards for the purpose, we need a national response,” Mr. Siva told The Hindu. “Transgenders face total discrimination, even by their own families. I was very emotional when the House passed the Bill. Members of the transgender community were watching from the (visitors’) gallery.” New Delhi-based activist and community member Simran Shaikh, who watched the Rajya Sabha proceedings, said: “This bill’s passage is a remarkable thing. It is part of a long-drawn struggle including the Supreme Court’s judgement last year.”
The Bill provides for creation of welfare boards at the Centre and state level for the community, Transgender Rights Courts, two per cent reservation in government jobs and prohibits discrimination in employment. It also makes provisions for pensions and unemployment allowances to the members of the community.Hindu