Trangenders should have option to define themselves: House panel

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New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) Recommending more “teeth and power” for the National Council for Trangender Persons (NCTP), a parliamentary committee on Friday said a transgender person should have the option to define itself as a “man”, “woman” or “trangender”.

“A transgender person should have the option to choose either ‘man’, ‘woman’ or ‘transgender’ as well as the right to choose any of the options independent of surgery or hormones,” said the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment with regard to The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016.

The bill for now defines a transgender person as a person who is neither wholly female nor male, or a combination of female or male, or neither female nor male.

As the bill does not define the “discrimination” and “family”, the committee said that such definitions were needed to avoid and deal with the incidents of harassments against a transgender person.

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“The committee recommends that definition of ‘discrimination’ be included in the bill. The word ‘discrimination’ must cover a range of violations that trangender persons face,” the committee said.

The committee said that the word “family” should be defined, so that the “Hijra” or “Aravani” community elders, who adopt the young transgender children, were not put under risk and the Hijra familiy system was not criminalised.

“The committee, therefore, recommends that the definition of the family should include a group of people related by blood, marriage or by adoption of transgender persons,” it said.

As the bill also does not have any grievance redressal mechanism, neither the proposed NCTP is empowered to penalise a person or establishment in case of discrimination against the transgender person, the committee also called for a mechanism to hold the offending establishment or individual responsible.

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“All the establishments, government and private, irrespective of the numbers of employees working in these institution shall have a complaint officer to deal with the complaints of harassment and discrimination against transgender person,” the committee said, adding that the duties of such officer must also be defined.

“The committee also recommended that the NCTP should not be a mere advisory body. It should have more teeth and powers. Further, its powers and functions should be clearly defined and non-compliance of its order must attract severe penalties,” the committee said.

It stressed that the bill must recognise all the offences and crimes against transgender persons and provide punishment in accordance with the gravity of their offences.



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