The social justice and empowerment ministry has decided to go ahead with a bill which seeks to provide recognition to transgenders and protect their rights despite other ministries “failing” to send their comments on it during the inter-ministerial consultation process.
It has sent the draft bill on the ‘Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2016’ to the law ministry for finalisation before it is sent to the cabinet for approval.
“The draft cabinet note on the ‘Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2016’ was circulated to all ministries for their comments on March 23 as part of the inter-ministerial consultation. “But even after 15 days (the timeline on inter-ministerial consultation), the concerned ministries have not sent their comments, following which it was sent to the legislative department of the law ministry for finalising the Bill so that it can be sent to the cabinet for approval,” a senior ministry official said.
The cabinet secretariat had last year fixed a time-frame of two weeks for completing inter-ministerial consultations to end delays in finalisation of cabinet notes and ensure that the proposals are promptly taken up for consideration at the highest level.
As per the order, the sponsoring ministry is required to indicate in the body of the note the date on which comments were sought from the departments consulted. As per the draft bill, forcing a transgender to leave a village or residence, forcibly removing their clothes and parading them naked or enticing them to beg or do similar forms of bonded labour will be treated as atrocities and violence against them and proposes imprisonment of upto two years, along with a fine for the guilty.
The draft bill also includes a chapter detailing a series of offences which shall be treated as atrocity and violence against transgenders.
The offences also include wrongfully dispossessing a transgender from his or her land or premises and forcing or causing a transgender to leave house, village or other place of residence.
Intentionally insulting or intimidating with intent to humiliate a transgender person in any place within public view, assaulting or using force on them to dishonour or outrage their modesty, denying the right of passage to a place of public resort and preventing them from using such a place which others members have a right to use or access will fall within the ambit of atrocities.
Also, transgenders, who by birth do not belong to Scheduled Castes (SC) or Scheduled Tribes (ST) may be declared as Backward Class and would be entitled to reservation under the existing ceiling of OBC category, according to the draft Bill.