The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 was introduced to replace an Ordinance currently in force. The Bill makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal.

The House also passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016. The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes: (i) trans-men or trans-women, (ii) gender-queers, (iii) persons with intersex variations, and (iv) persons having socio-cultural identities such as kinnar or hijras.  A transgender person must obtain a certificate of identity as proof of recognition of identity as a transgender person and to invoke rights under the Bill. Such a certificate would be granted by the District Magistrate on the recommendation of a Screening Committee. The Committee would comprise a medical officer, a psychologist or psychiatrist, a district welfare officer, a government official, and a transgender person. Under the Bill, Offences like compelling a transgender person to beg, denial of access to a public place, physical and sexual abuse, etc. would attract up to two years’ imprisonment and a fine.  

Some issues that were raised by various members while debating the Bill were: a) The definition of ‘transgender persons’ in the Bill is at variance with the definitions recognised by international bodies and experts in India b) The Bill states that a person recognised as ‘transgender’ would have the right to ‘self-perceived’ gender identity.  However, it does not provide for the enforcement of such a right.  A District Screening Committee would issue a certificate of identity to recognise transgender persons.

Lok Sabha adjourned soon after the passage of this Bill.

Rajya Sabha remained adjourned for most of the day.