The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, PTI reported. The bill was passed by a voice vote even as opposition parties shouted slogans against it.
It was introduced by Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot last month.
The bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the one assigned at birth and that a person would have the right to choose to be identified as a man, woman or transgender person, irrespective of sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy. But, it requires transgender persons to go through a district magistrate and district screening committee to get certified as a trans person and a revised certificate may be obtained only if the individual undergoes surgery to change their gender either as a male or a female.
Minister of State for Social Justice Rattan Lal Kataria said the bill made provision for
establishing a national authority for safeguarding rights of transgenders. He said according to the 2011 census there are more than 4.80 lakh transgender persons in the country. The minister highlighted that there are provisions for penalty and punishment in cases of offences and sexual harassment against transgender persons.
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Manoj Tiwari said transgenders are symbols of happiness. He said they visit homes of people during the time of celebrations and it was necessary to save their culture and heritage.
The 2018 bill was opposed for criminalising begging and that provision has been removed in the current one. Many trans people in India are forced to take to begging because of lack of other employment opportunities.
The 2019 bill has been criticised by many as it does not provide reservation for employment and education, which is important to ensure social justice to the community.