As the winter session of Parliament enters the second week, the crucial question was will the Houses function today? The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day after congratulating P.V. Sindhu for her World Tour win.
While the Lok Sabha witnessed three adjournments as the Opposition demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into Rafale fighter aircraft deal and the Treasury Bench sought an apology from Rahul Gandhi for the anti-Sikh riots, the transgender rights Bill was passed with 27 amendments.
Here are the updates:
Speaker allows Badaruddoza Khan of CPI(M) to make his point. He insists on reservation to transgenders and allow them to take part in sports events.
The Bill is passed and the House is adjourned for the day.
The transgender rights Bill goes to clause-by-clause voting amid ruckus.
Amendments moved by the minister are adopted.
Amendments moved by Shashi Tharoor are turned down.
Amendments moved by N.K. Premachandran and Tathagata Satpathy are not taken up as they are not present in the House.
The government has introduced 27 amendments, accepting nine major suggestions of the Standing Committee. However, two crucial suggestions have been ignored — decriminalising homosexuality and reservation for transgenders.
The Cabinet approved the Bill in August, while the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality in September.
Lok Sabha resumes. Now AIADMK members shout slogans in Tamil. They claim the Centre is ill-treating Tamil Nadu.
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar (TMC) says the Bill is "hastily-drafted". Reading the definition of transgender mentioned in the Bill, Dr. Dastidar a physician by profession, explains why the Bill is flawed. She says the Bill doesn't adhere to the Supreme Court ruling. He speech is interrupted as AIADMK members troop into the Well.
The Minister requests the members to get back to the seats and help them continue the discussion on the Bill.
Dr. Dastidar says the Bill must be withdrawn. Mr. Gehlot says the Bill has gone through several rounds of discussions. He assures the House that the concerns will be addressed at the time of drafting rules.
What is the transgender rights Bill about?
This is the third time Thaawarchand Gehlot is tabling the transgender rights Bill in the Lok Sabha. When he introduced it for the first time in 2016, it was sent to the standing committee, The bill was re-introduced again the next year, without any amendment, only to be sent back to the standing committee again.
This time Mr. Gehlot proposes some 27 amendments. Will he be third time lucky? Unlikely, going by the scene in the Lok Sabha. The main opposition party, Congress, seeks withdrawal of the Bill and wants it to be re-introduced as fresh Bill with incorporating the standing committee suggestions. The Bill needs to be passed in Rajya Sabha as well, where they government doesn't have majority.
The Bill has a competitor — a Private Member's Bill by DMK Rajya Sabha member Tiruchi Siva that was unanimously passed in the Upper House, but was never debated in the Lok Sabha.
Here is why the Bill is problematic and the transgender community is unhappy with it:
Supriya Sule (NCP) says 'others' as gender identity must be replaced with transgender in all application. She suggests a welfare board for transgenders. She also asks setting up of helpline for transgenders on the line of child and women helpline. She also pitches for reservation for transgenders.
She also urges the government to set up a JPC and get the House in order before taking up a discussion on the Bill.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourns the House till 3 pm.
Bhartruhari Mahtab of Biju Janata Dal speaks. Mr. Mahtab asks if a person who considers them a transgender but the screening committee rejects it, where can the person approach for reconsideration.
Mr. Mahtab also says the definition of transgender is ambiguous. Will the gender be decided on anatomy or psychology, he asks. He also points out queer, intersex, transmen and transwomen are not defined.
Mr. Mahtab lists out the gender-specific laws and asks which of these will be applicable for transgenders.
The minister himself is moving 27 amendments, more members are likely to bring amendments. Why can't the ministry bring a fresh bill, he asks.
Shashi Tharoor transgender rights Bill
Lok Sabha reconvenes. Social welfare minister Thaawarchand Gehlot introduces The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016. He explains the salient features of the Bill, but Opposition members shout slogans demanding JPC on Rafale deal.
Congress member Shashi Tharoor speaks. He begins his speech by saying he supports the members' demand for the JPC probe and his participation in the debate should not be taken as he is not supporting his party's demand.
Mr. Tharoor says the Bill, in its existing form needs as many as 41 amendments.
Mr. Tharoor says the Bill is incomplete and the definition of transgender persons in the Bill is defective. He also ridicules the Bill's proposal to set up a screening committee to determine whether a person is a transgender.
Mr. Tharoor suggests the punishments for sexual abuse of transgenders must be the same as the case of women victims.
The Bill is silent on marriage, divorce and inheritance, he adds. Mr. Tharoor requests the Minister to withdraw the Bill and bring a fresh bill in consultation with the transgender community.
Speaker proceeds with Zero Hour. Dhruvanarayana, Congress member from Chamanrajanagar, speaks about the 'prasada' incident in Mysuru where more than ten people died and several others hospitalised after consuming contaminate prasada from a temple.
Prem Singh Chandumajra (SAD) raises the issue of anti-Sikh riots. He claims an accused has been nominated as the chief minister of a State. Speaker disallows him to take names. He holds Congress responsible for the riots. Congress members object to it.
BJP member from Satna, Ganesh Singh, seeks to construct Ram Temple in Ayodhya. He also requests the Supreme Court to expedite the trial.
House adjourned till 2 pm.
Triple Talaq Bill
Amid ruckus Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad seeks permission to introduce The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, also known as the Triple Talaq Bill. Congress member Shashi Tharoor opposes the Bill claiming it is targetted at a particular religion and hence unconstitutional.
Mr. Prasad says the Bill was brought in as per the direction of the Supreme Court. Several Muslim women suffered due to instant talaq. He introduces the Bill.
Lok Sabha reconvenes. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is in the Chair. She informs the House that Malkajgiri member Malla Reddy has resigned and she has accepted his resignation.
Ministers and members lay various papers listed against their names.
Opposition members led by Congress raise slogans seeking joint parliamentary committee probe on Rafale. The BJP members raise slogans demanding an apology from Rahul Gandhi.
Telugu Desam Party member N. Shivaprasad, known for donning various avatar arrived on Monday as Chhattrapati Shivaji. Curiously, he was found protesting along with AIADMK members who were demanding Karnataka to stop its proposal to construct a dam across Cauvery river at Mekadatu.
Lok Sabha adjourned till 12 noon following sparring between treasury and opposition benches over Rafale deal.
Rajya Sabha assembles. Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu is in the Chair. The Chair congratulates P.V. Sindhu for winning gold in the World Tour Finals.
Ministers and members are tabling reports mentioned against their names.
Mr. Naidu says he has admitted three calling attention notices on cyclone Gaja and Titli, price rise, and petroleum product price rise.
Some members troop the Well, while Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Leader of Opposition, mentions about the Supreme Court verdict on Rafale. "I will look into it," says Mr. Naidu.
The AIADMK members hold placards against Karnataka's propsed dam in Mekadatu.
He adjourns the House for the day.
Bills to be discussed in Rajya Sabha today
The National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
In addition to this, the government will also seek to withdraw the The Nalanda University (Amendment) Bill, 2013. The Bill introduced on August 26, 2013, was referred to a Standing Committee. The government has decided to accept certain suggestion of the committee and bring a new Bill. Hence the existing Bill is being withdrawn.
Bills to be discussed in Lok Sabha today
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, also known as the Triple Talaq Bill.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016.
The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2018.
The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018.