The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 2, 2016 by the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thaawarchand Gehlot.
- Definition of a transgender person: The Bill defines a transgender person as one who is (i) neither wholly female or male; (ii) a combination of female and male; or (iii) neither female nor male. Such a person’s gender does not match the gender assigned at birth, and includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations and gender-queers.
- Prohibition against discrimination: The Bill prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to: (i) education; (ii) employment; (iii) healthcare; (iv) access to, or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public; (v) right to movement; (vi) right to reside, rent, own or otherwise occupy property; (vii) opportunity to hold public or private office; and (viii) access to a government or private establishment in whose care or custody a transgender person is.
- Right of residence: Every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household. If the immediate family is unable to care for the transgender person, the person may be placed in a rehabilitation centre, on the orders of a competent court.
- Employment: No government or private entity can discriminate against a transgender person in employment matters, including recruitment, promotion, etc. If the entity has more than 100 persons, it is required to designate a person to be a complaint officer to deal with complaints in relation to the Act.
- Education: Educational institutions funded or recognised by the government shall provide inclusive education, sports and recreational facilities for transgender persons, without discrimination.
- Health care: The government shall take steps to provide health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, sex reassignment surgeries, etc. The government shall review medical curriculum to address health issues of transgender persons, and provide comprehensive medical insurance schemes for them.
- Certificate of identity for a transgender person: A transgender person may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’. The District Magistrate will issue such certificate based on the recommendations of a District Screening Committee. The Committee will comprise: (i) the Chief Medical Officer; (ii) District Social Welfare Officer; (iii) a psychologist or psychiatrist; (iv) a representative of the transgender community; and (v) an officer of the relevant government.
- Welfare measures by the government: The Bill states that the relevant government will take measures to ensure the full inclusion and participation of transgender persons in society. It must also take steps for their rescue and rehabilitation, vocational training and self-employment, create schemes that are transgender sensitive, and promote their participation in cultural activities.
- Offences and Penalties: The Bill recognizes the following offences: (i) begging, forced or bonded labour (excluding compulsory government service for public purposes); (ii) denial of use of a public place; (iii) denial of residence in household, village, etc.; (iv) physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse.
- These offences will attract imprisonment between six months and two years, and a fine.
- National Council for Transgender persons (NCT): The NCT will consist of: (i) Union Minister for Social Justice (Chairperson); (ii) Minister of State for Social Justice (Vice- Chairperson); (iii) Secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice; (iv) one representative from ministries including Health, Home Affairs, Minority Affairs, Housing and Poverty Alleviation, Human Resources Development, etc. Other members include representatives of the NITI Aayog, National Human Rights Commission, and National Commission for Women. State governments will also be represented. The Council will also consist of five members from the transgender community and five experts from non-governmental organisations.
- The Council will advise the central government on the formulation and monitoring of policies, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons.
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