Human Rights are one of the basic rights which are assured to human beings; these rights can’t be abrogated by any form of Government. These rights include the right to life, liberty, equality, and freedom of expression and belief. India has achieved significant growth and development in different social facets such as literacy, education, and health. However, the development has affected a certain part of the society, not all the destitute group has benefited from it.
Transgender are those people who have the gender identity or gender expression that differs from their assigned sex. In India Transgender are also called as Hijras, and Kinnars, it is a common term applied to the group of people who tend to deviate from normal gender. The term transgender has been derived from English and Latin i.e.”Gender” and “Trans”. It is a common understanding that transgender doesn’t belong to any of the assigned genders, thus many of their civil rights are been stifled away from them.
CHANGING PARADIGM: INDIA
The transgender community is one of the marginalized and a vulnerable community in the country which is seriously lagging behind on social, economical and political aspect. The life of transgender people is no bed of roses as there is no acceptance anywhere and they are detested from the society.
However, in 2014 Supreme Court has changed this mindset by upholding a refreshing and progressive in National Legal Service Authority v Union of India, by declaring transgender as “Third Gender” and making it mandatory to in every organization to recognize “Third Gender” concept. The Supreme Court held that the right to self-identification of a gender is an essential part of the right to dignity and autonomy under article 21.
Taking the cue from the above landmark judgment, legislators had decided to come up with a Transgender Protection (Act) Bill, 2016, to give some credibility to the judgment given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
Highlight of the bill
• A transgender person must obtain a certificate of identity as proof of recognition and invoke rights under the Bill.
• This Bill has prohibited discrimination against a transgender person in the area such as education, employment, and healthcare.
• Offences such as compelling to beg, denial access to the public place, physical and sexual abuse etc. would be punishable up to 2 years imprisonment.
A controversy has been stormed when it was been suggested by the Law ministry that they were reluctant in recognizing the third gender in country’s Labour Law framework, as the Law Ministry has raised objections to the recommendations made by the Labour Ministry which proposed to codify wages, provide protection against discrimination by inserting clauses for transgender rights in all four codes of the labour code in India. The draft bill to codify wages also had provisions to curtail the discrimination against transgender regarding the payment of wages. This is been disapproved by law ministry as they contend to put transgender in the same definition of “person”, as been mentioned in General Clause Act, 1897. Therefore, denying any special treatment to the transgender community.
Now, the biggest question which stands in front of the government is that what validity does the new bill hold now, when no special status is been given in workplace according to Labour law regime of the country and if government is backing out from taking audacious step which was been promised by the inception of ingenious Transgender Protection Act (Bill), 1961. The government needs to elucidate what holds in the future for “Third gender”.