RIGHTS & WRONGS ON TRANSGENDER PERSONS BILL :-
Centre has brushed aside a parliamentary standing committee’s report and plans to introduce the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill without changes is a disappointment.
The process of recognising the rights of the community and seeking to protect it by legislation gained momentum in 2014, when the Supreme Court gave a landmark verdict in the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) vs Union of India case :-
- Legal Recognition for Third Gender : In recognizing the third gender category, the Court recognizes that fundamental rights are available to the third gender in the same manner as they are to males and females. Further, non-recognition of third gender in both criminal and civil statutes such as those relating to marriage, adoption, divorce, etc. is discriminatory to the third gender.
- Legal Recognition for Persons transitioning within male/female binary : As for how the actual procedure of recognition will happen, the Court merely states that they prefer to follow the psyche of the person and use the “Psychological Test” as opposed to the “Biological Test”. They also declare that insisting on Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) as a condition for changing one’s gender is illegal.
- Public Health and Sanitation : Centre and State Governments have been directed to take proper measures to provide medical care to Transgender people in the hospitals and also provide them separate public toilets and other facilities. Further, they have been directed to operate separate HIV/Sero-surveillance measures for transgender people.
- Socio-Economic Rights : Centre and State Governments have been asked to provide the community various social welfare schemes and to treat the community as socially and economically backward classes. They have also been asked to extend reservation in educational institutions and for public appointments.
- Stigma and Public Awareness : Centre and State Governments are asked to take steps to create public awareness so that Transgender people will feel that they are also part and parcel of the social life and not be treated as untouchables, take measures to regain their respect and place in society and seriously address the problems such as fear, shame, gender dysphoria, social pressure, depression, suicidal tendencies and social stigma.
In 2014, a private member’s Bill moved by DMK MP Tiruchi N. Siva was passed in the Rajya Sabha whereas In the Lok Sabha, the government introduced its own Bill, which was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment.
The Standing Committee, in its July 2017 report, suggested some modifications and additions to the draft :-
- In particular, it disagreed with the definition of ‘transgender’ in the draft Bill and wanted modifications to bring it in line with global norms.
- Activists and experts have also rightly pointed to the absence of any reference to the implications of criminal and civil laws that are based on the traditional gender binary. While provisions on equality and non-discrimination would promote equal opportunity, in the process the real benefit of reservation in jobs should not be denied.
Conclusion :- What govt needs to do is to adopt an inclusive approach towards divergent opinions and come up with the best law possible. Ignoring the opinions of experts and parliamentary committees does not help the process. The Centre should revisit its draft and incorporate the inputs of the standing committee and an expert panel that submitted a report in 2014.
A STAB IN THE HEART OF A PEACE PROCESS :-
An American President taking a pro-Israeli decision related to the Israel-Palestine conflict is no surprise. The U.S. has largely favoured Israel throughout the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem. It has offered protection to Israel in the UN Security Council, come to its aid in times of crises, and provided it with advanced weapons. The U.S. has even looked away when Israel was amassing nuclear weapons. In return, Israel has become America’s greatest ally in West Asia.
Lets just understand why Donald Trump did this ?
- First he was acting on a long-made promise, and that Washington remains committed to the peace process irrespective of the Jerusalem move.
- Second Mr. Trump has just shown the world he is a tough decision-maker and can act decisively while brokering peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
What would have done by America President Donald Trump ?
- He would have held talks with both sides and extracted compromises, taking the peace process a step forward.
- He would have said which part of Jerusalem he was recognising as Israel’s seat of power and endorsed the Palestinians’ claim over East Jerusalem, including the Old City.
Instead, Mr. Trump has taken a unilateral decision giving the largest concession to Israel, perhaps since the Oslo process, without getting any promises in return. His move will only strengthen the Israeli Right over Jerusalem.
History Over Jerusalem :-
Jerusalem has never been recognised as Israel’s capital by the international community.
- In the original UN General Assembly plan to partition Palestine and create independent Jewish and Arab states, Jerusalem was deemed an international city.
- In 1948, Zionists declared the state of Israel and in the ensuing Arab-Israeli war, they captured 23% more territories than even what the UN had proposed, including the western half of Jerusalem. Israel seized East Jerusalem in 1967 from Jordan, and later annexed it.
- The Israeli Right has always made claims over the whole of the city. In 1980, when the Likud government was in power, the Israeli Parliament passed a basic law, declaring Jerusalem “complete and united” as its capital. This move invoked sharp reaction from world powers, including the U.S. The UN Security Council (UNSC) declared the draft law “null and void” and urged member countries to withdraw their diplomatic missions from the Holy City.
- This is the reason all countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv despite West Jerusalem being Israel’s seat of power for decades.
Impact of Trump’s Decision :-
- The hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, who live in the annexed East Jerusalem without even Israeli citizenship & the millions of Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza hope to see East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state has started to lose their hopes.
Conclusion :- If the history of Jerusalem states anything, it is that its disputes cannot be settled by force. US needs to engage both sides for talks and should take its decision back for peace process.