Lok Sabha members for law to end discrimination against transgenders
Cutting across party lines, Lok Sabha members on Friday underlined the need for an effective law to end discrimination against transgenders so that they can enjoy all constitutional rights and lead a dignified life.
Resuming the debate over the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Jagdambika Pal said transgenders are also citizens of this country and they must enjoy all the rights.“It is unfortunate that they are being discriminated against, tortured and not treated well by the society...they should be provided legal protection,” he added.
Members from different political parties suggested that the Lok Sabha should pass the Transgender Persons Bill, a private measure, which has already been approved by the Rajya Sabha. The Rajya Sabha had created history in April 2015 when it passed the private members’ Bill brought by Tiruchi Siva (DMK). He was present in the gallery of the Lower House to witness the debate.
Participating in the discussion, Congress member Shashi Tharoor said the Bill sought to address the problems being faced by homosexuals as well as transgenders. Tharoor regretted that the country is saddled with colonial era laws, which reflected Victorian morality.
The Supreme Court, he said, has ruled that transgenders should have all rights of a citizen provided in the Constitution and should have the option to decide whether they belong to category – male, female or the third gender.
He suggested that there should be a transgender welfare board to take care of the needs of such persons and demanded the Lok Sabha should pass the Bill, which has already been approved by the Upper House.
Intervening in the discussion, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, asked the members to also give their views on the definition of ‘transgenders’, how they can be provided reservation and should they be treated as male or female.
Prahlad Singh Patel (BJP), however, suggested that the law to protect the rights of transgenders should not be passed in a hurry. “We need to consider all connected issues before enacting any law on the rights of transgenders,” Patel said adding it is mainly the responsibility of the family to take care of such children.