Rajya Sabha passes landmark bill to safeguard transgender

Rajat Kain

RajyaSabha_PTIThe upper house on Friday passed a landmark legislation aimed at bringing the transgender community into the social mainstream. The law Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 is a stepping stone to safeguard the often marginalised community from facing social stigma and ostracism within the society six decades after India became republic.

The members across the political spectrum joined hands in Rajya Sabha demanding the government to take every step to uplift and defend the constitutional rights of the transgender community.

The bill was moved by DMK member Tiruchi Siva. The passage of the bill was in itself historic as it became the first private members bill to be passed in 46 years. The bill will now go to Lok Sabha where it will be debated and put to vote.

“Government must own this bill and pass a sensitive legislation for transgenders, whom people push away. It will give credit to new government. They have the same rights as you and me,” Congress member MS Gill had said when the bill was introduced last month in the first leg of the budget session.

The bill was originally introduced by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva in the Rajya Sabha on 12th December, 2014 aiming “to provide for the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive national policy for ensuring overall development of the transgender persons and for their welfare to be undertaken by the State.”

Earlier, debating on the floor of the upper house, Vivek Gupta of the Trinamool Congress said that the community “despite a population of over two million, was discriminated against in every walk of life”.

Cutting across the parties in unanimity over safeguarding the rights of the transgender community, the members asserted that law must cover the whole gamut of welfare activities for them.

Appraising the house of the initiatives taken by the Tamil Nadu government, AIADMK member A Navaneethakrishnan of AIADMK said “Besides forming self-help groups, the state government was giving them a pension of Rs 1,000 a month”.

The Supreme Court too in its judgement has sought the government to push for starting various welfare initiatives for the transgender community.