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Lok Sabha takes up Bill to end transgender discrimination

The Lok Sabha on Fridat took up for consideration a private member Bill to end discrimination against transgenders, which had created history last April when Rajya Sabha passed it.

Moving the ‘Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014’ for consideration and passing, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) member Baijayant Panda said: “We need to be compassionate towards transgenders and end all kinds of discrimination.”

The Bill provides for formulation of a implementation of a comprehensive national policy for ensuring the overall development of transgenders and for their welfare.

The Bill had created history when on April 25, the Rajya Sabha passed it, becoming the first private member legislation in 36 years to be cleared by any House of Parliament. If passed by the Lok Sabha, it will become law.

Generally, the private members’ Bills are withdrawn after the government gives its response, following a debate.

According to some estimates, there are 25 lakh transgenders in the country, though the number could be much higher as many do not declare their status because of social stigma.

Describing the Bill as historical, Panda insisted it had the support of all sections of House and even the judiciary and should be passed as a private member’s legislation.

The Bill, he added, would help in extending constitutional rights relating to equality, life of dignity and freedom of speech to transgenders.

Even the High Courts and Supreme Court were for ending discrimination to transgenders, he said, stressing that under the Constitution all citizens must have equal rights. Panda said a law was needed to ensure that they get equal treatment in educational institutions and jobs and lead the life of a dignity.
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