Rajya Sabha MPs from Opposition parties on Friday assured the transgender community that they will not let the National Democratic Alliance government pass the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, in its current form in the Upper House, PTI reported. The lawmakers said they would ensure that the draft law is sent to a select committee for modifications.
The Lok Sabha had passed the bill on December 17.
Congress parliamentarian Rajeev Gowda said the bill in its present form would perpetuate “massive injustice”. “We saw that without much discussion a bill was passed in Lok Sabha,” he added. “The bill which claims to protecting the rights of the transgender community is actually doing the exact opposite.”
Gowda said the members of the Upper House across party lines would send the bill to a select committee. “That will give us a chance to sit with it, to work on improving it and to counter all the negativity infused by the government into the bill,” he added.
Earlier in the day, members of the transgender community protested outside Jantar Mantar in Delhi, alleging that the bill had failed to incorporate their suggestions.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Tiruchi Siva said the bill was absurd. “The government does not even have an idea as who is a transgender,” he said. “Going through a medical test to prove that you are a transgender is an insult rather than a right given through the bill.”
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien also said the Rajya Sabha would not pass the draft law in its present form. “TMC is the third-largest party in Rajya Sabha and 47 MPs from the party promise that the bill will not be passed in Rajya Sabha,” he added. “We also have support from other parties. This bill will go to select committee.”
O’Brien remarks were echoed by Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Elamaram Kareem.