Karnataka dragging its feet on transgender rights
Bengaluru: In April 2014, Supreme Court recognized transgender as the third gender and subsequently Karnataka was the first state to constitute committee to frame a policy for transgenders, in line with the Apex Court order. However, over a year has elapsed but nothing has been done, while states like Kerala have drafted a policy.
The 11-member sub-committee, which was formed for the purpose held three meetings and was finally dissolved. Transgender activist Akkai Padmashali said, “We are putting pressure on the government to bring an all-inclusive bill in the Lok Sabha that will help the community members prosper in the fields of education and employment. The Karnataka transgender committee, an autonomous democratic body met Sonia Gandhi, Law Minister Sadananda Gowda and Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Gowda and presented their demands for a strong bill to guarantee equal rights and opportunities for transgenders.”
National Legal Services Authority had filed a writ petition at Supreme Court in September, 2012 and sought several directions from the Court, including granting of equal rights and protection to transgenders, inclusion of a third category in recording one’s sex/gender in identity documents such as voter’s ID card, passport, driving licence and ration card; admission in educational institutions, hospitals, amongst others.
Based on the judgment, a private member’s bill was introduced by MP Tiruchi Siva in the form of “Rights of Transgender Persons Bill”. The Rajya Sabha had passed the bill on April 24 this year, guaranteeing rights and entitlements, reservations in education and jobs (2% reservation in government jobs), legal aid, pensions, unemployment allowances and skill development for transgenders.
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