A parliamentary panel led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker has recommended exemption of transgenders from the ambit of laws criminalising homosexuality. He reportedly said that the draft Bill introduced in Lok Sabha last year does not guarantee the community’s civil rights such as marriage and divorce.
According to a Hindustan Times report, the standing committee on social justice and empowerment, headed by seven-time Lok Sabha MP Ramesh Bais, presented its report on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, in the Lok Sabha on July 21.
The aim of the Bill is to define a transgender and end discrimination against the community. The report comes at a time when the BJP government is under pressure to decriminalise homosexuality and to recognise the rights of sexual minorities.
“Transgender persons remain at risk of criminalisation under Section 377. The Bill must at the very least recognise the rights of transgender persons to partnership and marriage,” the report said, according to the HT report.
The panel also called for a provision for penal action against abortions of intersex foetuses and forced surgical assignment of sex to intersex infants.
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“While there is no shame in being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex or even straight, there is a most certainly shame and dishonour in being a homophobe, a transphobe and a bigot,” the report added.
In 2012. the Delhi high court abolished Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises homosexuality. But the HC ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2013. Later in 2015, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s private member’s Bill seeking to amend Section 377 rejected in the Upper House. It was rejected for a second time last year.