Rights of Transgender Persons in India-Legal Status Enhanced

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In India, the ‘Transgenders’ were recognized as the “Third Gender”, by the Supreme Court of India, by its land-mark judgement dated 14th April 2014, on a Public Interest Litigation/ PIL petition  filed by National Legal Services Authority/ NALSA, seeking a separate identity to the ‘Transgenders’ by recognising them as the third category of gender.

The ‘Supreme Court of India’ had advised the Union Government of India and the State Governments in India to:

  • Treat ‘Transgender’ as ‘Socially and Economically Backward’ /OBC’s,
  • Allow the ‘Transgenders’ admission in the educational institutions,
  • Give employment on the basis that they belonged to the ‘Third Gender’ category,
  • Construct ‘Special Public Toilets’ and departments to look into their special medical issues,
  • Devise  ‘Social Welfare Schemes’ for  the ‘Third Gender’ community and 
  • Run  public awareness campaigns to erase social stigma against the ‘Transgender Persons’.

The Supreme Court of India also said, ” ‘Section 377 of the  Indian Penal Code/ IPC’ is being misused by Police and other authorities against the ‘Transgenders’. The social and economic conditions of the  ‘Transgender Persons’ in India are  far from satisfactory. They are part and parcel of the society. The Government must take steps to bring them in the main stream of society”.

The Supreme Court of India, however, clarified that its verdict pertains only to ‘eunuchs’ and not other sections of society like ‘gay’, ‘lesbians’ and ‘bisexuals’ who are also considered under the umbrella term ‘transgender’.

Recently, on 18th April 2015, the Allahabad High Court ruled that the ‘Transgenders’ are entitled to the status of ‘Head’ of a household in India, which would allow them to avail food security benefit through the family ration card.

On 24th April 2015, the Rajya Sabha has passed unanimously, ‘The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014’, introduced by  Mr.Trichy Siva, an elected Member of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha) belonging to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam/D.M.K., on 12th December 2014 and which was taken for discussion in February and March 2015 and which came for voting on 24th April 2015.

The bill passed in the Rajya Sabha, introduced by Mr. Trichy Siva is with 58 clauses in 10 chapters, dealing with different aspects, such as:

  • Social inclusion, 
  • Rights and Entitlements, 
  • Financial and Legal Aid,
  • Education, 
  • Skill Development,
  • Prevention of Abuse, Violence and Exploitation.

It is notable that ‘The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill -2014’ is the first ‘Private Member’s bill passed in the Rajya Sabha in the past 45 years, whereas, 14 ‘Private Members’ bills have been passed in the Lokh Sabha, so far.

The Union Government of India, accepting the spirit and the sentiment of the bill, would bring an updated bill of “The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill-2014”, after removing some impractical clauses and some infirmities in the present bill passed in the Rajya Sabha.

As the Supreme Court of India has ordered for the recognition of ‘transgenders’ in India, as the ‘Third Gender’, the above private member’s bill passed in the Rajya Sabha will be passed in the Lokh Sabha also and will become law shortly.

Having been  recognized legally, the ‘transgenders’ in India should realize their rights and duties and behave in public places, decently and co-operate the Government of India and the State Governments in removing the social stigma against the ‘transgenders’ in India.

We will clap for them, as and if they stop ‘clapping’ in trains and public places, demanding money.

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mithra swagath

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