NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Monday passed a bill which provides a mechanism for social, economic and educational empowerment of transgenders.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019 was passed by a voice vote amid noisy protests by some opposition parties over Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury not being allowed to speak on his adjournment notice.
The bill was introduced on July 19.
Replying on the bill, Minister of State for Social Justice Rattan Lal Kataria said it makes provision for establishing a national authority for safeguarding rights of transgenders.
The minister said according to the 2011 census there are more than 4.80 lakh transgenders in the country.
He said in the bill there are provisions for penalty and punishment in cases of offences and sexual harassment against transgender persons.
A contentious provision that criminalised begging by transgender people has been removed from the bill.
The provision was part of the bill when it was introduced by the previous government. The bill had lapsed.
According to the bill, a transgender is a person whose gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-man or trans-woman (whether or not such person has undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy or laser therapy or such other therapy), person with inter-sex variations, gender-queer and person having such socio-cultural identities as 'kinner', 'hijra', 'aravani' and 'jogta'.
Going by the bill, a person would have the right to choose to be identified as a man, woman or transgender, irrespective of sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy.
It also requires transgender persons to go through a district magistrate and district screening committee to get certified as a transperson.
Earlier participating in the debate on the bill, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said transgenders are symbol of happiness.
They visit homes of people during the time of celebrations and happiness and it is also important to save their culture and heritage.