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Redraft Bill for transgenders rights protection, demands activists

Saturday, Nov 5, 2016,13:25 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Arguing that the draft bill for transgenders has narrowed down the definition of community by taking away the right of self-determination, activists today said the bill needs to be further reviewed as it has moved away from the Supreme Court’s landmark NALSA judgement.

In response to public suggestions sought by the parliamentary panel examining the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, the delegation of over 150 activists said the bill will result in “discrimination” and “violence” towards the transgender community.

Arguing that the bill has narrowed down the definition of transgenders by taking away the right of self-determination, the activists alleged that the screening process to certify a person as transgender would violate a person’s dignity.

Activists also sought clarity on reservations saying that recent bill does not declare transgender persons as backward class or does not list any clear entitlements to them.

“There are different levels of marginalisation. A person cannot be simply put under OBC category. There is a need for separate reservation policy for transgenders,” Chayanika, a queer rights activist, said.

Terming their objections to the bill as “non-negotiable”, they said the bill needs to be redrafted after deliberations and in depth consultations with the transgender and intersex communities.
“The current bill of 2016 has grossly undermined NALSA judgement to such an extent that we strongly believe that it will result in further discrimination and violence towards the transgender community. We insist government to allow us a minimum period of 30 days to provide a cohesive list of objections to the bill,” the delegation said in a letter to Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment.

The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) had urged the Supreme Court to give separate identity to transgenders by recognising them as third category of gender.
The Transgender Bill was referred to Standing Committee on Social Justice after being introduced in Lok Sabha in monsoon session amid criticism from a section of the transgender community.

Standing committee then invited public consultations citing wider implications of the proposed bill.

“Considering the wider implications of the proposed legislation for protection of the rights of transgender persons and for an in-depth study of the proposals in the bill, the standing committee decided to invite suggestions… From the public in general and from NGOs,” a statement released by Lok Sabha had read.

They also demanded a detailed affirmative action for access to education, employment and other social benefits to create an inclusive environment for the diverse community.
The recent bill is a redrafted version of the “Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2015″, following the direction of the 2014 NALSA judgement by the Supreme Court of India, wherein the apex court had directed the government to draft policies to redress the inequities and rights violations faced by India’s transgender communities.