The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, which aims at defining the transgender people and prohibiting discrimination against them, was passed with 27 amendments in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
The Bill was introduced in the House two years ago.
The amendments moved by the government, along with some others moved by Opposition members, were considered.
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of the All-India Trinamool Congress said the bill was hastily drafted and the different clauses mentioned in it were totally inconclusive.
“First we have to define what transgender means....This Bill has to be returned,” she said, adding that a properly drafted Bill should be tabled.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government was ready was any kind of discussion.
Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said that the Bill was sent to standing committee and the government had accepted 27 amendments.
Earlier, seeking passage of the Bill, Mr. Gehlot had said the Bill was complete and there was no need for more discussion.
He said the objectives of the Bill includes protecting interests of the transgender people, defining of the term ‘transgender’, giving them recognition and setting up of a National Transgender Council.
“A long discussion has taken place on this issue. It has also gone to the parliamentary standing committee. We have included several of their suggestions,” he said.
Initiating the debate on the Bill, Congress member Shashi Tharoor said the Bill was “flawed” and the Minister should withdraw it.
“Defer consideration of the Bill as it needs serious discussion. I request the minister to withdraw the Bill,” he said. He said the government has “blindly” borrowed the definition of transgender.
“The Bill also fails to define discrimination against transgenders and there is a need to redraft certain clauses,” he said.
Bhatruhari Mahtab of the BJD said the definition of transgender was not complete and that other terms such as transmen and transwomen were not defined.
Supriya Sule of the NCP said a transgender commission at the national level was not enough. “We are asking for a welfare board for transgenders. They need equal rights,” she said, demanding a helpline number for the community.
( With PTI inputs )