Transgender bill does not address issues like marriage and divorce: Parliamentary panel

Panel headed by BJP Lok Sabha member Ramesh Bais said the bill is "silent" on granting reservation to transgenders under the socially and educationally backward classes category as directed by the SC.

Published: 23rd July 2017 12:37 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2017 12:37 PM   |  A+A-

Image for representation only.


NEW DELHI: A BJP MP-headed parliamentary panel has criticised the government's draft transgender bill for not addressing important civil rights issues such as marriage and divorce among members of the community.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice And Empowerment in its report tabled in the Lok Sabha on Friday said transgenders "remain at risk of criminalisation under Section 377 of the IPC".

The IPC section criminalises any "unnatural" sexual contact by a person including acts of homosexuality.

The report comes at a time when the BJP-led NDA government is under pressure to decriminalise homosexuality.

The draft Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016 "does not refer to important civil rights like marriage and divorce, adoption among others which are critical to transgender persons' lives, wherein many are engaged in marriage-like relations without any legal recognition from the state", it said.

The panel headed by BJP Lok Sabha member Ramesh Bais said the bill is "silent" on granting reservation to transgenders under the socially and educationally backward classes category as directed by the Supreme Court.

It suggested that the proposed legislation "must at the very least" recognize transgenders' rights to partnership and marriage" and that they should have the option to choose their gender independent of surgery or hormones.

The draft bill defines a transgender as someone who is neither wholly female nor wholly male, a combination of female or male or neither female nor male and whose sense of gender does not match with the gender assigned to the person at the time of birth.

The panel also felt that the definition of a transgender in the draft bill is in stark contrast to global developments, where transgenders have been granted the right to self determine and to seek benefits according to such identity.

"It not only violates fundamental rights to equality, dignity, autonomy, but also freedom of transgender persons guaranteed under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution," it said.

The definition is "unscientific and primitive and based on biological attributes". It fails to recognise that many persons are born with ambiguous or typical sexual organs, whether external or internal, and identify themselves as male, female or transgender, it said.

The committee also recommended that a definition of "discrimination" be included in Chapter I of the bill "which must cover a range of violations that transgenders face".

It also asked the central and state governments and the civil society to adopt measures for creating awareness about transgenders.

A historic shift is underway, transgender are not alone in their struggle for the end of violence and discrimination, the panel said in the report.

"While there is no shame in being a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex or even straight - there is shame and dishonour in being a homophobe, a transphobe and a bigot," it said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp