Govt readies to implement new transgender law by March 31
NEW DELHI: The government has set in motion the ground work to implement the law that came into effect on January 10 to protect the rights of transgender persons. The ministry of social justice and empowerment has set March 31 as the deadline to frame rules and consultations are at an advanced stage. The ministry has also assigned Tata Institute of Social Sciences the task of preparing a draft scheme for welfare of transgender persons in consultation with stakeholders by mid March.
Aware of the anxiety of the transgender community members pertaining to certain provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights ) Law, the ministry is now working on rules to address concerns like putting in place the process for identity certification based on the right of every transgender person to “self perceived identity” as per the new law.
When asked about the status of rules, Union social justice secretary, R Subrahmanyam told TOI, “We have held consultations and work is on to put in place the rules by March 31. The attempt is that implementation should be smooth and care will be taken that no transgender person faces any kind of distress while seeking identity certification.” Subrahmanyam said he was of the view that since the law provides for the right to self perceived identity, a self certification by a person who identifies as transgender should be good enough for issuing identity certificates.
The law states that a person shall have a right to self-perceived gender identity and transgender person may make an application to the district magistrate for issuing a certificate of identity as a transgender person, in such form and manner, and accompanied with such documents, as may be prescribed. The rules will now prescribe the process to enable implementation.
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On the status of the the National Council for Transgender Persons to be set-up under the chairmanship of minister for social justice and empowerment to monitor the implementation of the law, the Subrahmanyam said, “First the rules will be framed and the scheme for welfare of transgender persons will be rolled out and then the council as stipulated under the law will follow.”
The new law gives makes room for protection of transgender persons against offences including physical and sexual abuse by providing for penalties ranging from imprisonment of 6 months to two years and a fine. It also introduces a provision for coverage of medical expenses through a comprehensive insurance scheme for sex reassignment surgery, hormonal therapy and other health issues.
In the budget for 2020-21, Rs 10 crore has been allocated for schemes pertaining to transgender persons. This amount was Rs 5 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 1 crore in 2018-19. The law got the Parliament’s assent in November and was notified in December.
While all MPs welcomed the legislation in principle, the opposition raised concerns over lack of clarity in definitions and usages like “self perceived identity”, clauses pertaining to penalty and fine and issuance of certificates of identity.
Courtesy : TNN