The Bill specifies the third gender as transgender
but it doesn’t specify
how these existing laws
will be applicable on
New Delhi: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Monday dubbed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, passed by the Lok Sabha, ineffective and sought more amendments to the Bill.
Speaking on behalf of the party, BJD Parliamentary party leader in the Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahtab said adequate attention was not given to the drafting of the Bill. He also raised questions over the provisions of the Bill.
“The Bill has provision of self perceived gender identity and screening process to recognise the identity of the transgender person. But if a transgender is denied a certificate of identity by the screening committee then this Bill doesn’t provide any mechanism for appeal or review of such decision of the committee,” Mahtab said.
The BJD MP further said the definition of the transgender is ambiguous. “Will the gender be decided on anatomy or psychology?” he questioned.
“International bodies like World Health Organisation, American Psychological Association don’t specify any biological criteria in the definition of transgender person. The Supreme Court and other committees in the country also have defined transgender persons based on psychological criteria only,” he said.
He further said that terms like transmen, transwomen, intersex and queer have been used in this Bill but are not defined.
Mahtab also asked the status of transgender persons in the existing criminal and civil laws. He said several criminal and civil laws like Indian Penal Code, Hindu Succession Act, Mahatama Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Act and others recognise two categories of gender – men and women.
“These laws contain some gender specific provisions. The Bill specifies the third gender as transgender but it doesn’t specify how these existing laws will be applicable on the transgender persons. Penalties of criminal cases vary on the basis of gender. The Bill doesn’t specify how that will be applicable on the transgender persons,” Mahtab added.
However, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said that some rules would be added during the formation of different committees.
The Lower House passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 with 27 amendments which includes suggestions given by the Standing Committee.
Notably, according to the 2011 Census, the transgender population stands at 4, 87, 803 – 0.04 per cent of the total population.