Analysing The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act: Where Do We Stand on the Spectrum of Representation?

Must Read

The Right to Information and its Working of 15 years

On 12th October 2020, RTI finished fifteen years since its commencement. The question remains whether the legislation stands up to...

An Insight into Custodial Death in India

“The occurrence of Custodial deaths in the world’s greatest democracy has raised the eyebrows of every citizen and shaken...

Implications in Travel Insurance in Light of the COVID-19 Crisis

As the world, today is crippled by this once in a century pandemic and as of date more than...

Second-Round Effects of Rent Control Laws: The Argentine Case

Introduction In colonial India, a city had an issue with its cobra population, which was a problem clearly in need...

Why Are the Big Techs of Silicon Valley Accused of Anti-Competitive Behaviours?

The big tech giants of the Silicon Valley are facing major challenges with relation to their monopolistic powers after...

KSK announces Sanjay Kumar as a Partner for Pharma & Life Sciences Practice

New Partner for KSK's Pharma & Life Sciences Practice King Stubb & Kasiva recently announced that Mr Sanjay Kumar has...

Follow us

It was in 2014 that the Indian Courts recognized and have a status to the “third gender” in the country in the NALSA case. Therefore, this judgement came as a beacon of hope to the community. Furthermore, this judgement was a step forward to create a more inclusive and gender-sensitive India. Since, majority of the people identify as a man or woman. Thus, the Government makes most of the provisions keeping the majority in mind. Hence, in this process, it leaves out the people who identify as non-binary.

Therefore, this was the advent of legal recognition for the third gender. We were and still are far from granting them the protection and security of law they deserve.

Understanding the timeline

In 2014, a minister introduced a bill for Transgenders as a Private Member’s Bill in Rajya Sabha. It was the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014. The Rajya Sabha passed it in April 2015. However, it never became a law.

In 2016, the Government approved The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016. But, the Bill saw protests from the trans communities pan India. It did not take into consideration the suggestions given by the community. The community felt misinterpreted. The definition of a transgender person in the Bill was, “partly female or male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male”. This definition is viewing the third gender only through a binary lens. But the community represents much more than that.

The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014, was more progressive and comprehensive. Furthermore, it laid down important aspects like education of children and adult transgenders. A notable highlight is the special transgender right courts. Apart from that, the Bill also made hate speech against the community punishable. Activists favoured the 2014 Bill over the current legislation. The 2014 Bill was in line with the NALSA judgement.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 is an amended version of the 2016 one. The Bill considered the issue of the definition of transgender persons and changed it. It defines trans persons “as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes trans-men, trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, as well as persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra. But it still did not exclude the certificate of identity. It assured employment, health care, education and other facilities without discrimination to the community.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act

The Bill was passed with 27 Amendments, whereas the community suggested 100 amendments to the same. Few aspects stand as an ironical counterpart to the NALSA Judgement. 

Fundamental concerns

Violation of Privacy and Dignity

The NALSA judgement held that the transgenders have a right to self-identification. Thus, the category of “third gender” was formally introduced. At present, if a person wants to identify as a transgender, they have to go through a medical examination. They also have to attain a certificate of being transgender from the District Magistrate. Not only is this approach regressive and biased, but it is stripping someone of their dignity. Article 21 also guarantees us a right to live with dignity. In a country like ours, some social stigmas and taboos tag along with being transgender. So, many people prefer not to disclose their identity in public. Right to privacy is our Fundamental right which is being violated by this Act.

The transgender persons have a limited right to self-identification. They need external proof in the form of a certificate. This is unacceptable.

 The Act states that the Medical officer must assure the correctness of change in gender done through sex-change surgery. This opens ground for subjectivity and bias on the part of the Medical Officer.

Marriage 

The present Act, as well as the 2014 Bill, doesn’t provide for the marriages of trans people. Marriage holds a lot of importance as a social institution in our country. Apart from that, a need to legally name your relationship gives an assurance. In cases of asset distribution of the partners, law governing marriage, divorce, right and liabilities of the partners is a must. There are no such provisions for the trans community. They face difficulties to legalize their relationship. Even though the decriminalization of Section 377 stands as a stalwart move, we have a long way ahead.

Adoption

There’s no provision that allows transgender persons to adopt. Certain people from the community may not have the option to procreate biologically. Not allowing adoption deprives them of having children. Adoption must be available for all.

Provision for punishment in case of rape or sexual abuse

 The Act makes rape or sexual abuse against transgender persons a punishable offence. But, the maximum punishment prescribed under the Act is only two years. Under the Indian Penal Code, rape is punishable with imprisonment upto seven years. Article 14 says that any distinction should be based on Intelligible Differentia. There is no such different circumstance that is prevalent in this case. Why shouldn’t an equal quantum of punishment be granted under the Act?

Positive Aspects

Apart from the above mentioned criticism, the Act has some positive for the community. The Act bars any discrimination at the workplace or educational institutions against the transgenders.

Section 8 of the Act puts a duty on the Government to take Welfare measures for the inclusion of the community. They do this by way of schemes and trying to destigmatize the approach in society.

As a grievance measure, a Complaint Officer is appointed to address any non-compliance with the Act.

For healthcare, there are separate HIV surveillance institutions. Apart from this, medical care for sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy.

The Act lays down that there should be a National Council for Transgenders. This is for better understanding of the issues faced by them.

Section 18 lays down the Offences against Transgender Persons. They include not allowing them the right of passage. Forcing them for bonded labour. Forcing them to leave their place of residence. The Act also makes secular, economic and physical abuse against Transpersons, an offence.

The Government has the power to make rules and also remove difficulties that arise in future.

Author’s Recommendations

● The need for experts in drafting of such legislation is a must. We need to include people from the community in the process of effective legislation.

● They should be given an unfettered right to self-identification.

● There should be more awareness about the transgender communities in India. Teaching it at school level itself helps to create an inclusive atmosphere.

● Gender sensitization training should be mandatory at an institutional level.

● Media has played a pivotal role in bringing about changes in the approach. The Gauri Sawant Ad by Vicks is one such example. It portrayed a Transgender in light of a mother. We need more such inclusive advertisements.

Further Information

You can visit the following sites and watch these videos for a better understanding of the same.

● Pros and Cons of the Act:

https://www.drishtiias.com/daily-updates/daily-news-analysis/the-transgender-persons-protection-of-rights-bill-2019

● Community disappointed over the Bill:

 https://www.google.co.in/amp/s/qz.com/india/1756897/indias-transgender-rights-bill-disappoints-the-lgbtq-community/amp/ 

● UNDP Report: 

https://www.undp.org/content/dam/india/docs/hijras_transgender_in_india_hiv_human_rights_and_social_exclusion.pdf

 ● India’s DemiGods: 

https://youtu.be/YxL5qfbtKqg

● Recognition of non- familiar ties: 

 https://www.google.co.in/amp/s/www.indiatoday.in/amp/india-today-insight/story/cant-erase-hijra-culture-transgender-persons-bill-1581247-2019-08-16

● Achievers:

https://www.thequint.com/videos/news-videos/meet-indias-10-iconic-transgender-achievers-who-scripted-history.


Libertatem.in is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgements from the court. Follow us on Google News, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter. You can also subscribe for our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest News

Madras High Court Observes Unexplained Delay in Procedural Safeguards, Quashes Detention Through Writ Petition

A Writ Petition was filed under Article 226 to issue a writ of Habeas Corpus. The petitioner P. Lakshmi, called for records of the...

UK Court of Appeal Rules Home Department’s Deportation Policy of Immigrants Unlawful

Britain’s Court of Appeal quashed the Home Department’s deportation policy, declaring it unlawful; criticizing it for being too stringent on immigrants to comply with. Background The...

Inordinate and Unexplained Delay in Considering Representation by Government Renders Detention Order Illegal: Madras High Court

A Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution was filed in the Madras High Court to declare the detention order of the husband of...

Privy Council Clarifies Approach To Winding up in “Deadlock” Cases in the Case of Chu v. Lau

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council clarified several aspects of the law concerning just and equitable winding-up petitions, as well as shareholder disputes...

Madras High Court Directs Hospital To Submit Necessary Medical Reports to Authorization Committee for Approval of Kidney Transplant

A Writ Petition was filed under Article 226 to issue a Writ of Mandamus to K.G. Hospital, Coimbatore by P. Sankar & V. Sobana....

Punjab Woman Evokes Petition for Protection Fearing Honour Killing

In the case of Divya Mattu and another vs State of Punjab and others, the petitioner, Divya, fearing honour killing against her by her...

Punjab Woman Accuses Punjab Police of Keeping Husband in Illegal Custody and Framing Him in a False Case

In the case of Geeta v the State of Punjab, the petitioner evoked a writ petition of habeas corpus as she claimed that her...

Addition of Words as Prefixes or Suffixes Is an Infringement of a Registered Trademark: Delhi High Court

Justice Jayanth Nath allowed the Times Group to use its registered trademark “Newshour”, in the case of Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd v. ARG Outlier...

Just Because the Deceased Did Not Have License, Does Not Imply He Was Negligent: Chhattisgarh High Court

In the case of Hemlal & Others v. Dayaram & Others, a Single Bench of Chhattisgarh High Court consisting of Justice Sanjay S. Agrawal annunciated various...

Hoardings Are Movable Property Under Section 2(3) of DMC Act Subject To the Twin Test: Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court in the case of Delhi International Airport v South Delhi Metropolitan Corporation discussed in detail the provision under Section 2(3) of the DMC...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -