A Parliamentary committee headed by a Bharatiya Janata Party MP has criticised the Narendra Modi’s government’s draft transgender Bill for not addressing matters such as marriage and divorce among members of the community, The Indian Express reported on Saturday. The panel headed by BJP MP Ramesh Bais said that the Centre’s Bill leaves the transgender community vulnerable to criminal proceedings under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
“The Bill does not refer to important civil rights like marriage and divorce, adoption, etc., which are critical to transgender persons’ lives and reality, wherein many are engaged in marriage-like relations without any legal recognition from the State,” the report said, urging the Centre to recognise these rights to protect transgender people from being prosecuted under Section 377.
The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, headed by seven-time the Lok Sabha MP, recognised the right of transgender persons to form civil unions and also criticised homophobia. “While there is no shame in being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex of even straight – there is most certainly shame and dishonour in being a homophobe, a transphobe and a bigot,” the report said.
The panel also criticised the draft Bill’s definition of transgender persons as “neither wholly male nor wholly female”. It tabled its report on The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, in the Lok Sabha on Friday.