Following the judgment in NALSA v. Union of India, which directed the Central Government and State Governments to take various steps for the welfare of the transgender community and to treat them as a third gender for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III of the Constitution and other laws made by Parliament and the State Legislature, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act was introduced in the Lok Sabha where it passed unanimously. Consequently, having passed the Rajya Sabha and receiving the President’s assent, the bill was enacted as the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
RECOGNITION OF IDENTITY OF TRANSGENDER PERSONS
The 2019 Act allows the transgender person to be recognised as such and allows to have a self-perceived gender identity. The provisions also look into the issuance of a certificate of identity and issue a certificate stating the change in gender. A transgender person may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’. A revised certificate may be obtained only if the individual undergoes surgery to change their gender either as a male or a female.
RIGHTS AND ENTITLEMENTS
Under this Act, the Central Government is directed to provide the following rights to the transgender community.
- Prohibition against Discrimination: This Act 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, or otherwise occupy the 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, and promotion. Every establishment 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 relevant government shall provide inclusive education, sports and recreational facilities for transgender persons, without discrimination.
- Health care: The government must take steps to provide health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, and sex reassignment surgeries. The government shall review the medical curriculum to address health issues of transgender persons, and provide comprehensive medical insurance schemes for them.
ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR TRANSGENDER PERSONS
In addition, the Act also allows for the constitution of a National Council for Transgender Persons. The National Council has bee tasked with (i) advising the Central Government on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons; (ii) monitoring and evaluating the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons; (iii) reviewing and coordinating the activities of all the departments of Government and other Governmental and non-Governmental Organisations which are dealing with matters relating to transgender persons; (iv) redressing the grievances of transgender persons; and (v) performing such other functions as may be prescribed by the Central
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES
The Act recognizes the following offences against transgender persons: (i) forced or bonded labour (excluding compulsory government service for public purposes), (ii) denial of use of public places, (iii) removal from the household, and village, (iv) physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic abuse. Penalties for these offences vary between six months and two years, and a fine.
READ THE FULL TEXT HERE
CLPR believes in complete dissemination of information. Towards this end, CLPR has translated the text into Kannada for wider dissemination among the local transgender community in Karnataka. This translation is made in a private capacity by CLPR and is not an official version.
READ THE FULL TEXT IN KANNADA HERE