NEW DELHI: The Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said the government’s bill aimed at protecting the rights of transgender persons is not “comprehensive” enough and should be sent to a select panel for further scrutiny.
Instead of a new bill, the government should have brought the private member’s bill on the transgenders’ rights – moved by DMK leader Tiruchi Siva and already passed in Lok Sabha Last year, the opposition said.
Participating in a debate on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, opposition parties DMK, NCP, CPI and Aam Admi Party (AAP) alleged that the government has brought its own version tweaking major provisions suggested in the private member bill.
Sanjay Singh (AAP) said, “2 per cent reservation for transgenders and setting up of a commission were there in the private member bill but they have not been incorporated in the existing one.”
He observed that some of the provisions in the existing bill are not in favour of the transgender community. “Therefore the bill should be referred to a select committee for further scrutiny.”
Vandana Chavan (NCP) said unfortunately the government has not brought the bill in the same format as the private member’s bill of the DMK leader.
“There are absurd provisions like definition of transgender and district screening committee. …There should have been state councils and board. I suggest the bill be referred to a select committee,” she added.
Opposing the bill, P Wilson (DMK) insisted that it should be referred to a select panel as it has lot of lucunae. The provisions are not sufficient for transgenders welfare. There are no penal provisions against those who harass transgenders.
Binoy Viswam (CPI) said, “Will discrimination against transgender stop after the passage of this bill? Please refer this to a select panel, if not consider certain suggestions.”
Begging is illegal under the proposed bill, he said while expressing concern over their livelihood options and right on property, adoption and marriage.
Congress member Husain Dalwai said penalty proposed in the bill is less and that need to be changed. Even pension should be given.
Supporting the bill, Amar Patnaik (BJD) suggested that a maximum penalty proposed in the bill is only two years, while it is 7 years for sexual harassment on women. The penalities should be more.
He also suggested that there should be reservation for admission in schools instead of jobs.
But BJP leader Suresh Prabhu said the bill is “comprehensive” as all kinds of discriminations are prohibited.
He, however, suggested the government to include “verbal abuse” because at time this is more damaging and discriminatory than the physical abuse.
He also said that the representation of transgenders should be increased from five in the national council for transgender proposed to be set up as per the bill.
Ashok Siddharth (BJP) and Rakesh Singh (Nom) also supported the bill.
The debate on the bill will continue on Friday.

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