Rajya Sabha passes Rights of Transgender Persons Bill

NEW DELHI: The Rajya Sabha on Friday unanimously passed the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014, which seeks to protect the rights of the community, making it the first Private Member’s Bill to be cleared by the House in 46 years.

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 24

The Rajya Sabha on Friday unanimously passed the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014, which seeks to protect the rights of the community, making it the first Private Member’s Bill to be cleared by the House in 46 years.

Moved by DMK leader Tiruchi Siva, the Bill — a bid to bring the community into the mainstream by ending years of stigmatisation — found support across party lines. In the debate before the Bill was passed, Rajya Sabha members demanded equal rights to the community, which has been historically subjected to discrimination.

While it still has to be passed in the Lok Sabha, it is expected to sail through the House, if the universal support it received on Friday in the Rajya Sabha is any indication.  It will have to be moved in the Lok Sabha either by the government or a Lok Sabha member as a Private Member's Bill.

The Bill envisages a comprehensive national policy to ensure the development and welfare of the transgender community.

The unanimous support received by the Bill assumes particular significance given the negligible number of Bills that get debated in Parliament. According to official records, Parliament has passed only 14 Private Members’ Bills to date, with the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Bill, 1968, being the last to have been passed on August 9, 1970.

Private Member's Bill is a proposed law introduced by a member who is not acting on behalf of the executive branch of the state — the government. The term Private Member is used in most Westminster System jurisdictions, in which a ‘Private Member’ is any MP who is not a member of the executive arm of the state.


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