The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha as a private member Bill in 2014. The Bill’s objective is to implement a comprehensive national policy for the overall welfare and development of transgender persons.
The Bill defines ‘transgender person’ broadly as a person whose sense of gender does not match with the gender assigned at birth, whether or not they have undergone sex reassignment surgery (SRS). Transgender persons include gender queer persons, kinnars, hijras, aravanis, jogtas etc.
The Bill privileges certain guiding principles for State action such as respect of dignity and individual autonomy, non-discrimination, effective participation and inclusion, equality of opportunity, among others.
RIGHTS AND ENTITLEMENTS
The Bill directs the appropriate government to take steps to secure the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to life, right to physical and mental integrity and right to freedom of speech. In particular, it requires the government to take measures to provide various residential measures and community support services for transgender persons to facilitate inclusion.
Transgender children have been recognised as a discrete group requiring protection. The Bill secures their right to express themselves freely. Significantly, it provides that transgender children should not be separated from their parents because of their gender identity. However, where the children are not being adequately cared for, the competent court can place them with extended family or in a family setting.
The Bill also sets out the protection against torture and cruel treatment in detail. It provides the Executive Magistrate with the power to rescue the victim and rehabilitate them and provide protective custody and maintenance, where they receive information on a potential incident of abuse or violence. It also lays down a series of steps to be undertaken by the police officer to receives a complaint of abuse or exploitation against a transgender person.
EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT
The Bill states that the appropriate government should ensure that government and government-aided educational institutions provide inclusive education for transgender students. Some proposed measures include admitting transgender students without discrimination, monitoring the participation and completion of education, providing reasonable accommodation of individual requirements.
The Bill prohibits discrimination against transgender persons in any matter related to employment including recruitment and promotion. On skill development and employment, the Bill requires the government to frame schemes and programmes to provide vocational training and tools for self-employment of transgender persons.
Further, the Bill provides 2% reservations in government and government-aided educational institutions at all levels. Similarly, 2% reservations are provided for public sector vacancies to be filled by direct recruitment. It also mandates that the government incentivise private sector companies to ensure that 2% of the workforce comprises of transgender persons within 5 years of the Bill coming into force.
SOCIAL SECURITY, HEALTH, REHABILITATION, AND RECREATION
The Bill states that the appropriate government should ensure an adequate standard of living for transgender persons. This is to be done by providing safe community centres, access to clean water and sanitation, HIV sero-surveillance centres, free SRS, comprehensive insurance scheme, pension facility etc.
The Bill also provides that the government must formulate measures to protect the right of transgender persons to take part in cultural and recreational activities.
In addition, the Bill provides for the establishment of a National Commission and a State Commission for Transgender Persons. The National Commission has been tasked with (a) identifying laws, policies, programmes which are inconsistent with the statute; (b) coordinating activities of various departments on transgender rights; (c) inquiring into complaints and take independent action on violation of rights of transgender persons; (d) promoting awareness on transgender rights and relevant issues; (e) monitor the implementation of schemes etc.
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES
In the case of offences committed by establishments, the Bill penalises the person in charge of the conduct of its business for committing any offence. Further, separate penalties have been prescribed in case of hate speech, both spoken and written, and for failure to provide information to the authorities under the statute.
The Bill establishes a Special Transgender Rights Courts for speedy resolution of cases on any violation of rights of transgender persons under the statute.
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