Bill of wrongs
Mains Paper 4: Governance
Prelims level: The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill
Mains level: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the
Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018 was
swiftly introduced and passed by the Lok Sabha on December 17.
- At first glance, the government’s Bill looks quite promising
compared to the 2016 version, after 27 recommendations of the Standing
Parliamentary Committee were adopted.
- However, when one looks closer, pertinent questions arise: How has
the Bill constructed the concept of “gender identity” and its long-term
implications for transgender individuals?
- Is the Bill potent enough to correct the centuries-old
discrimination and injustices against the transgender community?
- Does the Bill convert the constitutional guarantees of life,
liberty and equality into lived experiences for transgender persons?
Features of this bill
- The Bill ends up providing a one-sided and an over-simplified
understanding of the term “transgender”.
- It emphasises the biological dimension of transgender identity;
conflates “sex” with “gender” and weaves a medicalised discourse for both;
and sets “male” and “female” bodies as the normative standards.
- Gender identity is a complex concept that is manifested in
- While a trans-person may experience a dysfunction with respect to
anatomy others may face even bigger dilemmas about their “self-concept” and
- The Bill fails miserably to factor in how trans-persons view
themselves vis a vis others;
how the society views a trans-person; how trans-persons conduct themselves
as well as interact with others and yearn to get a stamp of approval from
the society at large.
- Queer theorists view gender identity as a malleable and fluid
- They believe that individual life, identity and experiences cannot
be constrained in boxes like male/female/transgender.
What constitutes non-standard sexual anatomy?
- Who decides when the sex anatomy category of male ends and the
category of intersex begins or when the category of intersex ends and female
- While on the one hand, the Bill expressly prohibits discrimination
against a transgender person, on the other hand, it limits the prohibition
to only nine types of discriminatory acts.
- Discrimination is a multidimensional concept and to name just nine
types is a travesty of justice. Further, it fails to prescribe a
commensurate punishment for the violation of prohibited acts like sexual
- Shockingly, the Bill does not even decriminalise homosexuality in
line with the 2018 Supreme Court judgment.
- The Bill completely overlook everyday acts of bullying,
intimidation and abuse carried out by police officials but also grants them
complete immunity from prosecution.
- The bundle of rights, benefits and privileges extended to other
citizens under various laws like marriage, divorce, inheritance and
reservations have not been made available to trans-persons.
- The Bill grants a right to self-identification to transgender
individuals as upheld by the NALSA judgment.Can an individual who self
identifies as “male” today, wake up and put on a new gender tomorrow?
- What is the process to be followed if one wishes to change one’s
- The Bill empowers the District Screening Committee comprising of
medical experts and doctors to conduct physical tests in order to determine
whether a person may be categorised as “transgender”.
- With this Bill, the government has put in place a new gender
regulatory regime which is a negation of the privacy judgment.
- The Bill is oblivious of the harsh realities and circumstances of
the transgender community.
- For example, it does not allow the separation of transgender
persons from their abusive families.
- Separation is possible only under exceptional circumstances, under
a judicial order whereby a person may be placed in a rehabilitation centre.
- The insistence on living with the natal family is regressive.
- Further, state-run rehabilitation centres are known to have
deplorable living conditions and frequent instances of sexual violence.
- Begging is a primary source of livelihood for trans persons in
India. By criminalising the activity, the Bill pushes them into penury.
- The absence of any provision about education and affirmative
action for the transgender community is another major shortcoming.
Q.1) Which of the following steps taken by the Reserve Bank of India aim
to strengthen the bond market in India?
1. Commercial banks permitted to issue masala bonds.
2. Permitting primary dealers to act as market makers for government bonds.
3. Banks allowed to increase the partial credit enhancement they provide to the
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Q.1) The passage of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018
has been criticized by the very community it seeks to protect. Examine.