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Home > Sexuality Minorities > India: NAPM condemns passage of regressive ’Transgender Rights’ Bill | 28 Nov (...)

India: NAPM condemns passage of regressive ’Transgender Rights’ Bill | 28 Nov 2019

28 November

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National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements

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Transgender Bill ’Passed’: Transgender Community Failed Again by State

NAPM condemns passage of regressive ’Transgender Rights’ Bill despite severe opposition.

President must send back the Bill to Rajya Sabha for reconsideration by Select Committee

28th Nov, 2019: In yet another of its egregious legislative misadventures, the BJP Government with support from some other parties, passed the regressive ’Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights)’ Bill, in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, despite wide-spread opposition by members of the transgender, intersex and gender non-confirming communities, seeking referral of the Bill to a Select Committee.

We have all been witness to and allies of the struggles of the transgender community in their consistent resistance against this Bill in the past few years. Nothing could be a greater shame and sham that such a violative piece of law was passed on the 70th anniversary of the Indian Constitution! While it is being claimed that the Bill does have some ’enabling and supportive provisions’, it is flawed in many fundamental ways:

ONE, it takes away the inalienable right to gender self-identification as guaranteed by NALSA judgement, 2014 of the Supreme Court and retains the humiliating and transphobic provision that empowers district magistrates to ’certify’ a person as transgender at first instance and as male / female, only after surgery.

TWO, it prescribes only 6 months to 2 years punishment for perpetrators of sexual violence on trans persons as against 7 years punishment in the case of sexual violence on cisgender women, thereby legislating a secondary class of citizenship.

THREE, the Bill requires young transgender people, to reside with their birth family, completely overlooking the fact that domestic violence of trans persons is the norm. The only ’alternative’ in the Bill is court-directed ’rehabilitation’ in shelter homes, thereby infantilizing trans persons who are independent and equal citizens.

FOUR, the Bill is visibly devoid of effective provisions for reservations and affirmative action in education, employment and health care, without which trans, intersex and gender nonconforming people can never have access to fair opportunities and dignified lives.

FIVE, the ’anti-discrimination’ provisions are quite weak with no mention of the unique forms of discriminations faced and no commensurate penalties, making the Bill high on rhetoric and low on real commitment towards trans justice.

SIX, there is only a mechanism for a National Transgender Council, without any body at the state level. The Council, an executive body with no autonomy and no judicial /
quasi powers, will not be able to effectively address the many concerns of the community and remain dependent on the government for carrying out its functions.

In all, the Bill stands as a testimony of the contempt the current government has for the transgender community and its obvious lack of commitment to ensure justice to those who are perpetually marginalized. If the Government really cared for the rights of the trans community, they should have implemented the directives of the Supreme Court in NALSA vs UoI, which they never did, despite being in power since 2014.

What was also very disturbing was the manner in which the Bill has been rushed through, violating the directives of the Apex Court in the NALSA Judgement, ignoring the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee and disregarding the voices and views of the transgender, intersex and gender non-confirming people across the country. Callous inferences jibes and inadequate attendance point to how transgender people are ill-treated to this day, even by the ’law-makers’.

That the Chairperson of the Upper House, did not find ’merit’ in referring such a crucial Bill to a Select Committee and instead allowed it to be ’passed’ in haste, despite efforts by MPs of some opposition parties like DMK, INC, AITC, BJP, CPM, SP, AIADMK, AAP, RJD, CPI, NCP to introduce amendments, raise objections and send the Bill to the Select Committee, is a telling expose of our parliamentary procedures.

The President of India has so far been signing on a series of regressive bills (RTI, UAPA etc) which defy the constitutional spirit. We hope against hope that the President would refrain from doing so at least in the case of the most marginalized transgender community. We call upon the President to send back the Bill to Rajya Sabha for fair reconsideration by a Select Committee, inviting and incorporating the suggestions of transgender, intersex and gender non-confirming people from across the country.

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) stands in solidarity with the valiant transgender community, betrayed and violated yet again, this time in the garb of ’protection’ of their rights. We call upon all democratic forces to see this also as an issue of violation of basic citizenship rights, civil & constitutional freedoms and institutional compromise.

We demand that the NALSA judgement, which has the force of law to this day, be implemented in full letter and spirit. A comprehensive legislation that addresses all forms of discrimination and guarantees all civil rights to transgender, intersex and gender non-confirming communities alone would undo the historic injustice inflicted by the state and society.

In solidarity,

NAPM Saathis-Sangathans Across States:

Andhra Pradesh: P. Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-APVVU, Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM, Chakri (Samalochana), Balu Gadi (RSV), Bapji Juvvala, - NAPM Andhra Pradesh;

Bihar: Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan; Mahendra Yadav, Kosi Navnirman Manch; Sister Dorothy, Aashray Abhiyan, NAPM Bihar;

Chhattisgarh: Gautam Bandopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha; Kaladas Dahariya, RELAA

Delhi: Rajendra Ravi, NAPM; Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan Sangharsh Vahini; Anjali Bharadwaj and Amrita Johri, Satark Nagrik Sangathan; Sanjeev Kumar, Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch; Anita Kapoor, Delhi Shahri Mahila Kaamgaar Union; Sunita Rani, National Domestic Workers Union; Nanhu Prasad, National Cyclist Union; Madhuresh Kumar, Priya Pillai, Aryaman Jain, Divyansh Khurana, Evita Das; Anil TV, Delhi Solidarity Group.

Gujarat: Anand Mazgaonkar, Swati Desai, Krishnakant, Parth, Nita Mahadev, Mudita, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Lok Samiti, Dev Desai, Mujahid Nafees, Ramesh Tadvi, Aziz Minat and Bharat Jambucha

Haryana: Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, J S Walia, NAPM

Jharkhand: Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-Moolnivasi Astivtva Raksha Samiti, Basant Hetamsaria, Aloka Kujur, Dr. Leo A. Singh, Afzal Anish, Sushma Biruli, Durga Nayak, Jipal Murmu, Priti Ranjan Dash, Ashok Verma.

Karnataka: Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union; Maj Gen (Retd) S.G.Vombatkere, NAPM, Nawaz, Dwiji, Nalini

Madhya Pradesh: Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Dr. Sunilam, Adv. Aradhna Bhargava, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti; Rajkumar Sinha, Chutka Parmaanu Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti.

Maharashtra: Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe, Bilal Khan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai, Sanjay Mango, Mukta Srivastava, Yuvraj Gatkal, Chetan Salve, Jameela, Geetanjali Chavan.

Odisha: Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan; Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad & Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, Manorama Khatua, Ant-Posco Movement, Lingaraj Pradhan, Satya banchor, Anant, Kalyan Anand, Arun Jena, Trilochan Punji, Lakshimipriya Mohanty and Balakrishna Sand, Manas Patnaik,

Punjab: Guruwant Singh

Rajasthan: Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, NAPM;, Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL); Kailash Meena

Tamil Nadu: Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai; Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation; Suthanthiran, Arul Doss.

Telangana: Jeevan Kumar & Syed Bilal (Human Rights Forum), P. Shankar (Dalit Bahujan Front), Vissa Kiran Kumar & Kondal (Rythu Swarajya Vedika), Ravi Kanneganti (Rythu JAC), Ashalatha (MAKAAM), Krishna (Telangana Vidyavantula Vedika-TVV), M. Venkatayya (Telangana Vyavasaya Vruttidarula Union-TVVU), Meera Sanghamitra, Rajesh Serupally, NAPM
Kerala: Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan, Prof. Kusumam Joseph, Sharath Cheloor, Vijayaraghavan Cheliya, Majeendran, Magline.

Uttar Pradesh: Sandeep Pandey, Richa Singh, Sangatin Kisaan Mazdoor Sangathan; Arundhati Dhuru, Rajeev Yadav, Rihai Manch Suresh Rathaur, Arvind Murti, Satish Singh, Jagriti Rahi, Altamas Ansari, Zainab Khatun, Rambeti, Nakul Singh Sawney, Mashiuddin.

Uttarakhand: Vimal Bhai, Matu Jan sangathan; Jabar Singh, Uma.

West Bengal: Samar Bagchi, Binayak Sen, Sujato Bhadro, Pradip Chatterjee, Pasarul Alam, Amitava Mitra, Tapas Das, Tahomina Mandal, Pabitra Mandal, Kazi Md. Sherif, Biswajit Basak, Ayesha Khatun, Rupak Mukherjee, Milan Das, Asit Roy, Mita Bhatta, Yasin, Matiur Rahman, Baiwajit Basak